The wave roof former bank drive-through at Northwest 5th and Classen is now history, demolished Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
It was a decision made by Oklahoma City Public Schools staff after weeks of discussions about what might happen to the structure.
The move comes as a part of the overall renovation of the property at 615 N. Classen Blvd into an administration building.
Modern architecture fans across the metro are complaining about the turn of events.
“We did not hear from them until 6:21 a.m. this morning via email rejecting our intent to lease and then demolition began. We learned today the demolition permit was issued on June 13th.” said Melissa Hunt, Executive Director for the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture in a message exchange with Free Press.
“One of the attractions of a city is its architecture yet OKC continues its trend of demolition.”
Hope, then demo
Hunt said they originally contacted the district and were in discussions with staff starting May 23.
The foundation posted what they said was the entire email they received from Scott Randall, at 6:21 Tuesday morning.
The body of the email as it was posted on the group’s page said:
Subject: Re: Letter of Intent to Lease – Wavy Bank Structure
OKCPS places the highest priority on the safety of our students, families and staff. After a lengthy period of internal discussion and after analyzing the safety risks associated with keeping the wave roof structure located at 5th & Classen in place, the District has determined that the best course of action is to remove it.
The District after thorough and thoughtful consideration for safety & security reasons rejects both the “Draft” Letter of Intent and the “Draft” Lease Agreement you have submitted.
Thank you for your interest in the wave roof structure.
Chief Operations Officer I Oklahoma City Public Schools
Randall was not immediately available for comment later in the day. But, the Media Relations department sent a statement that was verbatim the first paragraph of the letter to the foundation.
Social media weighs in
Cody Lusnia, @codylusnia on Twitter presented some research in a series of tweets Tuesday in response to some, including some news outlets, that the structure was the original one built when the main bank building was built. He points out that it was not.
New admin building
The district purchased the former bank property at 615 N. Classen Blvd in 2014 for $2.3 million and received $10 million in tax increment finance or TIF funds from the City of Oklahoma City in 2017 for its renovation into a new administration building.
The reasoning was that the renovation of the long-vacant former bank building would contribute to the revival of the semi-industrial area around it.
Estimates at that 2017 presentation were that the renovation would cost $11 million and be completed by February of this year. But, renovations are still underway.
Following is the slide deck Randall and then Supt. Aurora Lora used in their 2017 presentation to the Oklahoma City Council.FY2017-Presentation-to-City-Council-for-TIF-Funding-Request-for-615-Classen