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Renovation set to begin on Rock Island Plow Building in Oklahoma City

The $13.4 million renovation of the old abandoned structure in Oklahoma City offers challenges for builder Richard McKown and architect Wade Scaramucci.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: April 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm •  Published: April 12, 2014

“I wouldn’t be able to keep doing what I’m doing today if not for this amazing intervention that happened 10 years ago,” McKown said. “It was missing a third of the roof — water was pouring into it. Huge amounts of the wood inside the building had rotted out. They put a new roof on the building, got it watertight, and replaced all the rotting heavy timber structures.”

Intervention essential

Had the intervention not happened, McKown said, the property would be a surface parking lot today.

McKown and Scaramucci say their goal is to respect the building’s history, while creating an adaptable modern building that could be converted to other uses, including housing or a hotel.

Lingo Construction is tasked with building a new, 21st century building inside an early 20th century building. Scaramucci said the contractor will fix any damaged brickwork – a task complicated by the lack of any existing comparable brick. Renovations are expected to be completed within one year.

“It’s very difficult to match that brick today — they don’t make this brick today,” Scaramucci said. “It’s a source long forgotten and size no longer made.”

Scaramucci said careful collaboration has been key to a successful partnership with Lingo Construction, which also renovated the Braniff Building at 324 N Robinson and is set to renovate the Mideke Building at Oklahoma Avenue and Main Street.

“These are very difficult projects because you can’t go in with large crews,” Scaramucci said. “You have to go in and take one piece off, put one piece in, and move very carefully. It’s very time consuming, laborious and expensive to do these things. (Owner Stan) Lingo and his team are magnificent. They are very thorough and very proactive.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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