OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – No big groups are allowed yet, but will be soon promises MAPS Program Coordinator David Todd, who can’t wait to show off the latest crown jewel in a long list of MAPS projects.
“I knew this was going to be a special place,” he says. “Once the carpet was all down and everything was cleaned up, all the workers were out, it really came around.”
He’s been able to give lots of individual tours since the building was finished in December.
But we asked him to take us to some of the places that give him the most satisfaction for a job well done.
He reminds us, “This is the biggest project within MAPS3. It’s also the largest project that Oklahoma City has ever undertaken.”
We start with the entryway and the big Oklahoma sky that comes right in on the west side in two huge atriums.
“It’s about 93 feet from floor to ceiling,” he says.
A hanging art installation called ‘Virtual Sky’ lights up at night whether anyone is here or not.
“There are LEDs that change colors.”
We walk north to where the building faces Mick Cornett Boulevard, where we saw workers suspending huge umbrellas to provide shade for what can be changed into a pedestrian only walkway.
Todd shows us, “The actual exhibits can spill out into this walkway.”
The new parking garage is open with 500 available spaces.
So is the biggest room here taking up more than 200,000 square feet with 40-foot ceilings.
On this side of the convention center though, Todd prefers a smaller meeting space that almost looks like an entryway.
He points out, “It’s got glass on three sides.”
There are two big ballrooms that subdivide if need be, but his choice for the second-floor space is a 5,000 square foot deck.
Todd says the sunset views from here are the best in the city.
The afternoon sun floods in, but high-tech windows keep temperatures inside cool.
Our final stop is a room on the third floor, again bathed in light, so perfect new viewers still mistake actual pictures for computer generated designs.
Ten years in the planning, more than two years to build and waiting for the world to be ready to crowd in.
“It’s disappointing,” admits Todd of present COVID restrictions, “But I know that time will come, and it’s going to be great when everyone can get in here.”
For more information on the new MAPS Convention Center go to https://www.okc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/3699/5296.