Gold Circle award
Stage Center is the only building in Oklahoma City to win an international Gold Circle award from the American Institute of Architects.
The theater, however, was never fully embraced by the community, and the design was forced upon city leaders by the Ford Foundation, which threatened to yank its funding from the theater’s construction if Johansen’s designs were rejected.
Williams is preparing to rely on Peter Dolese, president of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and former owner of the building, to help show that no matter how original the design, the theater is not viable for nonprofits and performing arts groups.
“In its current state, it’s not functionally viable,” Dolese said. “When it was opened, it was certainly usable. But there were so many difficult aspects to running the building, that while it was the flooding that closed it, the agencies in it were always struggling. And we were struggling to meet the financial requirements of running the building.”
Pettyjohn on Monday declined to detail how his group will argue against the demolition or respond to Dolese’s comments.