The downtown district also includes money budgeted for participating taxing entities, including the Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City Public Schools and Career Tech.
Lopez told the board he looked at sites for a headquarters outside the TIF district and also weighed new construction. He said both options were more expensive than buying the former bank building at 615 N Classen. Remaining at the current location, Lopez said, was not an option.
“It’s inefficient and built a century ago,” Lopez said, adding it is also in bad shape and too large for the schools operation. “For all those reasons, it became time to look for a new property.”
Lopez told the committee previous plans called for building the clinic in the school’s boiler room, but it was deemed inappropriate for young moms and moms to be. The amended plans now call for a stand-alone clinic on the school’s campus.
Emerson, he added, is an “important” school that serves students with special needs.
“It’s where students who have to have a different learning model, not always for behavior, are there, and it’s where we have our young moms,” Lopez said.
Lopez also asked for $90,000 for half of the cost of fencing and landscaping addition at Emerson similar to what was erected by St. Anthony Hospital around its parking lots, and a similar amount for such improvements around the new schools headquarters.
“Typically, it would be a chain link fence,” Lopez said. “But with all that is going on in these neighborhoods, we didn’t think that would be most appropriate.”
The requests were unanimously approved by the TIF committee, which is led by former Mayor Ron Norick and consists of representatives of city schools, libraries, the city, county and CareerTech.