SandRidge's vision for its downtown Oklahoma City headquarters has a remarkably different feel from that of the previous owners when the former Kerr-McGee Tower was completed in 1972.
The most obvious change is the open feel of the new commons.
Over the objection of preservationists, SandRidge has razed buildings, planted trees and expanded the open area throughout, altering the look and feel of one of the oldest and most iconic portions of downtown.
When construction is complete, the public will be welcomed and encouraged to eat in the restaurants that soon will make up the ground floor of the Braniff Building, just west of the main tower (the former Kerr McGee Tower), and use the new space as a respite from work or as a path connecting to other downtown destinations.
While those changes are most visible, another change has been made behind the security check-ins on the inside of the flagship SandRidge building.
Kerr-McGee Tower was a palace built on 1960s and 1970s oil money. The top floor was a plush estate — walls covered with wood paneling, and with thick, cream-colored carpet.
Under SandRidge, the look is dramatically different.
Hallways and office spaces throughout the building are bright and colorful.
The biggest changes are on the top two floors.
Stepping off the elevator at floor 28, employees and visitors are met with vast views of downtown and much of Oklahoma City. The floor is open and spacious, filled with conference rooms and training centers. The floor plan also allows views into the executive suites on the building's top floor.
The layout is intentional.
SandRidge's focus is in finding and producing oil throughout the middle of the country. But the building's layout keeps management and employees focused on what in many ways is more important — their community efforts, said Greg Dewey, SandRidge's vice president of communications and community relations.
The company is a strong supporter of Douglass High School and the schools that feed to it. SandRidge's main conference room and training area take up the northeast corner of the building, overlooking that part of town.
“When you look out this window, you see the state's largest health care facility in the OU Medical Center, and you see the Capitol. Then, literally in their shadows, you have the most impoverished part of Oklahoma City with the least access to health care and one of the highest crime rates,” Dewey said.
“This view helps keep things in perspective.”