The Board of Education for Oklahoma City Public Schools will vote on a resolution Monday night that asks the City of Oklahoma City to permanently close a key block of N.W. 5th Street.
The resolution will ask for 5th Street between Western and Classen to be closed permanently “to create a contiguous piece of property and allow District to fence the entire property….”
That block separates the new Clara Luper Educational Services Center building from a parking lot to the south that the district also owns.
Purchases of the properties and renovation of a former bank for the center, underway since 2014, add up over those years to nearly $15 million, most of which came from City MAPS and TIF funds. The building renovation came in at $11 million according to Scott Randall, chief operations officer for OKCPS.
To learn more, see our report in 2017: OKCPS gets $10 million from council for admin building
See the board agenda below for instructions on how to make public comments at the all-virtual meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, September 14. A direct link for the online agenda with documents is on this PAGE.
To watch the meeting Monday night live go to www.okcps.org/livestream.
Portions of the district’s administration have been scattered throughout various district properties across the city after moving out of the 96-year-old Administration building at 900 N. Klein in June of 2017.
Administrators have been setting up shop in the newly-renovated building since the end of June when most of the construction was complete.
Close and fence
The resolution, if passed, will empower Superintendent Sean McDaniel and the district’s outside legal counsel to pursue the closure with the City of Oklahoma City.
It would be the first step in the process. Typically, city staff take requests for street and alley closures, study the impacts on traffic and other possible implications for the area, and make recommendations to other bodies in city government. Eventually requests and the recommendations from staff and committees make their way to the City Council for a final vote.
If successful, the district would be able to make it’s two properties separated by the block of 5th Street into one contiguous property that they would fence “…to provide more effective security….”
Key segment for traffic flow
The blocks between Western and Classen on N.W. 5th and 6th are key connectors for traffic flow between Linwood Boulevard to the west of Classen and the uptown/downtown areas to the east.
In earlier times Linwood, 5th and 6th were designed as wide thoroughfares to carry heavy city auto and truck traffic from the industrial areas west of downtown and all points further west with the downtown area.
East/west two-way traffic on Linwood Boulevard and N.W. 6th Street meet at Western.
A four-lane cutoff, the Linwood Diagonal, allows drivers to divert to 5th Street on their way eastbound toward downtown. The closure would mean that the Linwood Diagonal would end at Western and force traffic onto Western going north and south.
The area that includes the Clara Luper Center has been considered a grubby hodgepodge of small light-industrial buildings for years.
Even in it’s heyday, that part of Classen was still the far eastern edge of Oklahoma City’s large industrial sector that ran from Linwood/10th street on the north all the way south to S.W. 29th street.
But, in recent times a renewed interest in the area around 5th and Classen has resulted in conversions of former industrial buildings. The old Ford Auto Assembly plant on Main and Classen transformed into a 21C Hotel and the conversion of Sunshine Laundry into a brewery and tap room has started the change.
New residential developments have been underway just to the east of the Clara Luper Center.
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Last Updated September 14, 2020, 8:20 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor