Old Sunbeam Home sees new life as it transforms into apartments

Great State
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OKLAHOMA CITY — The old dorm rooms look like luxury apartments now.

Interior decorators from across the Oklahoma City metro created more than a dozen living spaces inside this old brick building in the Mesta Park Addition.

“Oh my gosh,” exclaims Ray Bitcshe, who once worked in this building. “It’s a little different.”

He can’t help but picture himself in one of these historic, close in, suburban gems.

“This is the apartment I want,” he chuckles, “whether my wife wants to come or not.”

But there are other pictures in his mind of what this place used to look like.

During a tour he points out, “This was a file room, these were bedrooms down this side here, and this was the attic.”

During his tenure as director of Sunbeam Family Services, these rooms were divided into offices and classrooms designed to help and care for some of the city’s most needy.

“Children wandering the streets,” describes Bitcshe. “Families face tough times.”

Early Sunbeam organizers took a children’s poem and gave it life.

Beginning in 1907, they called the children in their charge Sunbeams.

When they raised money to build this place in 1930, they put that name above the front door.

Kids that lived here went to the elementary school a block away. They lived as normal a life as they could.

Boys on one side, girls on the other; both sides loved.

Bitcshe says, “Children who are now adults, and who have come back here, would be offended if this was referred to as an orphanage. I mean, it was a home.”

When Sunbeam moved their headquarters, they were careful about selling this property.

Ray says they wanted the character of the old home saved. He’s glad it will be a home, of sorts, again.

“I think that’s wonderful,” says Ray.

The new Sunbeam Home Apartments are classified as Affordable Housing, according to city code.

The Symphony Show House tours will be open through June 16, 2019.

For more information about them, go to: https://www.okcorchestraleague.org/symphony-showhouse

For information about Sunbeamm go to: https://sunbeamfamilyservices.org/

‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE Federal Credit Union.

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