- OCCC Pioneer - https://pioneer.occc.edu -

Theater completion on track for 2013

Work on the new Visual and Performing Arts Center theater is progressing on schedule, said Larry Barnes, project manager.

Barnes said the current date of completion is set for Aug. 1, 2013, but, he said, the date may change.

“Trying to nail down an end date for a project is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall,” Barnes said. “There’s all kinds of things that can happen.

“We’ve had some weather issues lately, but they haven’t hurt us too bad. But you never know.”

While the project is still on budget, Barnes said that’s another figure not easily pinned down.

“Every project has change orders,” he said. “I think we’ve had about three go before the (OCCC)Board of Regents now.

“We’re in good shape, but trying to figure the end budget is like the Jell-O again.”

As previously reported in a story in the Online Pioneer in 2011, the OCCC Board of Regents approved the $18 million project June 27, 2011.

In 2010, President Paul Sechrist told the Pioneer a $3 per credit hour fee increase in 2006 raised half of the initial $16 million it was thought the theater would cost.

A rise in costs of materials increased that amount by an additional $2 million, it was reported in 2011.

Raising the money was a multi-faceted plan of action, Sechrist said in 2010.

It included the $8 million Student Revenue Bond, a $4 million Real Property Master Lease Bond, and $4 million from private donations and other college resources, such as the Auxiliary Budget and Section 13 Offset Funds, he told the Pioneer.

Sechrist said from its inception, the theater plan had to be approved by many.

“The journey included seeking approval of the plan from our Board of Regents, approval of a joint-resolution in the Oklahoma Legislature, a capital campaign led by members of the community, and approval the bonds by our board, the state regents, and the State of Oklahoma Bond Oversight Committee,” he said.

The theater will feature a 1,000-seat acoustical concert hall and be outfitted with technically advanced audio, lighting, projection and recording system.

Barnes said he’s proud of the current structure, and the way it’s coming together.

“[The theater is] like another grandchild to me,” he said.“You put your life into it and work with it, and then you watch it take off and grow.”

That feeling, Barnes said, is one of the reasons he loves construction work.

“I just love my job. I wake up every morning and come to work excited about going to work.”

Barnes said it may seem like progress is slow right now because much of the work being done is foundation work.

“People driving by see a lot of dust and big machines, and hear a lot of noise.

“But what they don’t see is the pipes and cable, and lines for electric — all the things that go under a building being put into place.”

For more information on the college theater, visit www.occc.edu [1].

To contact Jeremy Cloud, email editor@occc.edu.