While the OCU School of Law’s last endeavor to be a downtown law school came to an unsuccessful conclusion in 2009 it was not going to be the last. Three years later in 2012 a new downtown opportunity presented itself. This time it was an historic structure in midtown just a few blocks north of downtown.
Originally Oklahoma High School, Oklahoma City’s first high school, then renamed Central High School but later left behind as a teaching facility to be purchased and renovated and become One Bell Central and later the AT&T Building was then sold again to be the home of American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance. The building was for sale and had been for a while when in late summer of 2012 it caught the interest of the OCU School of Law.
FSB was asked to assist in reviewing the facility for its potential conversion into a school of law. We pulled out and dusted off our files which had been well work from 2 previous studies of the program of needs for the school. The first order of business for the school and university was to conduct a “due diligence” effort to determine 2 key issues:
- Would the historic building accommodate the current needs of the OCU School of Law?
- Was the project financially viable?
It was FSB’s task to find the answer to the first issue. This entailed a 2 step process; validate and update the previous program of space needs for the law school and then conduct a test fit on paper to see if the building’s configuration and square footage could accommodate the validated space program.
A small issue was that we would also need somewhat accurate floor plans of the existing building. There was excitement although reserved but also subdued apprehension as we had conducted a similar exercise on 2 previous occasions. None the less it was time to press forward with everything we had with the belief and confidence that this would be the right time.