The building which is the centerpiece of our project is on the National Register of Historic Places. Doing work on a historic building brings into play a protocol of respect for the structure. The National Park Service who oversees the preservation of these historic structures has a healthy set of guidelines for taking care of and preserving historic places. These guidelines set forth an approach to responsible care which is then up to the property owner to put into play although the guidelines are not actively enforced.
Pursuing Federal Historic Tax Credits actually kicked us into a formal submission process with the NPS that requires documentation of the current structure, a detailed outline of the proposed work and a final submission that documents the final product. As we analyzed the building inside and out in order to document all the historic aspects of the structure there were beautiful historic elements inside as well as the expected historic nature of the façade on the exterior.
These are the areas where we found interior historic fabric intact:
The main high school entrance was located on the east side of the building facing Robinson Avenue. The entrance had a large vestibule that contained glass trophy and memorabilia cases on each side. The flooring was mosaic tile with detailing as exquisite as any Greek or Roman bath; real art work in itself. On the walls opposite the exterior doors were 2 murals flanking the second set of doors entering into the school. They are probably about 7-8 feet wide and 6-7 feet tall. There were painted by Olinka Hrdy who was born in Prague, Oklahoma in 1902. She was an amazing artist but not well known. Her story is another story for another post.
This is the Historic Preservation Chronology to date for the OCU School of Law conversion of once was the original Central High School of Oklahoma City.
April; Owner elects to pursue historic tax credits
May; Exploratory Package to State Historic Preservation Office
July; Part 2 Submission to National Park Service
August; Part 2 Submission approved by National Park Service
December 4; Amendment 1-Window Replacement
January 23; Amend 1 approved by National Park Service
March 31; Amend 2 – Sample Window
May 5; Amend 2 disapproved by National Park Service
May 30; Amend 3 – Addressing National Park Service concerns