Regents give green light to John Massey Center plans

In a unanimous vote Aug. 16, the OCCC Board of Regents approved the design plans for the construction of the new John Massey Center.

This included an estimated budget of between $2.1 and $2.3 million to construct a building of about 18,000 square feet.

President Paul Sechrist said the budget for building the new center was directly correlated to the final sale price of the original building, located near the intersection of SW 119 Street and Portland Avenue.

“OCCC sold the building for $2.6 million,” Sechrist said. “These funds are being held by the college for the sole purpose of using the funds to build the new John Massey Center.”

Sechrist said it was important to ensure that proceeds from the sale would be sufficient to cover the costs of a replacement building.

Regent James White said employees now working at the John Massey Center, which currently houses Human Resources, Finance, and Planning and Research departments, are expected to be in their new facility by November 2011.

Sechrist is enthusiastic about the move.

“Having the John Massey Center on the main campus provides a greater level of convenience for our employees when working with our staff in the human resources and finance departments,” he said.

Denise Stewart, executive assistant to Gary Lombard, vice president of Human Resources, said she can’t wait for the move to happen.

“I think it is great,” Stewart said. “It is beneficial to everyone. It will be helpful to our employees and applicants.”

Lori Johnson, payroll representative, said she looks forward to being able to put a face with a name by having more face-to-face contact with college employees.

“As it is now, we get to help others mostly by phone or e-mail,” Johnson said.

Johnson said by being more centrally located, she also would be able to be more engaged on campus in general.

“We will also get to be more involved in the many activities that the college has to offer, such as getting to meet Rumble (the OKC Thunder mascot who made a visit to campus earlier this year),” Johnson said.

Brenda Carpenter, assistant director of Finance, in an e-mail message, said she will like the convenience of being closer to campus. She said although the current facility is beautiful, she is not so fond of the wildlife nearby.

“I can tell you one thing I won’t miss about our current location — the turtle-infested pond and the snakes that live in our bushes,” Carpenter said.

“They are known to [lie] outside our back door and when you open the door they scare you to death.”

Carpenter said she is excited about seeing the finished product.

“My only concern about the new building is that I have no idea what the Finance Department’s offices are going to look like,” Carpenter said. “The suspense is killing me.”

Regents saw a digital rendering of the facility at the meeting. It will be located in the far southeast part of the campus across from the Child Development Center.

In addition, there is a plan to include a sidewalk that will connect the John Massey Center with the main campus buildings.

“Moving forward, consistent with our Master Campus Plan, we want to use our outdoor space to its fullest potential,” Sechrist said. “Having tree-lined walkways will add to the attractiveness of the campus, but also be functional as our students and guests walk to and from the parking lots.”

To contact Jennifer Massey, e-mail

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