An oft-used phrase is: If walls could talk oh the stories they could tell.
The new 70,000-square-foot Public Safety Center will be built on a 1-acre site where the old City of Edmond Administration Building currently stands at First and Littler. At 8 a.m. Thursday, Midwest Wrecking Co. will begin demolition of the building.
Previously, the site contained a parking garage on the first level with offices on the second. As part of a $350,000, 10,000-square-foot renovation project completed in 1979, the garage was converted to office space. The architect was the kerr 3 design group of Edmond.
In recent months, when employees were gradually moved to the new administration building at 7 N. Broadway, they brought memories of the past — challenges, successes, colleagues that came and went and personal growth.
City payroll supervisor Terri McKay was hired in 1977 and spent more than 20 years in the building. She was part of the final group of employees to be moved last month.
McKay said she is having bitter-sweet memories as demolition day nears. The sweet includes those related to her father Buddy Sandefur, former head of building inspection for the city, and her mother Patsy Sandefur, former assistant city manager. Her mother’s 22 years with the city included occasionally serving as city clerk and acting city manager.
McKay also reminisced about the close friendships she developed with co-workers in the building’s cramped space.
“I had a lot of good memories in the building for sure,” McKay said.
City Planner Bob Schiermeyer was hired by the city in July 1972. Schiermeyer said the original Administration Building was built in 1960. He recalls when there were homes to the east of it, a bank to the west and Barrett Drug to the south. He recalls tenants including Neal McCaleb, who was appointed the first secretary of transportation by Gov. Henry Bellmon in 1987, and Terry Kerr (kerr 3 design group), who opened his architect office in Edmond in 1977.
Betty Brinkman, deputy city clerk, was hired in 1987. She remembers the days when there was one computer in the office and how the city contracted with a University of Central Oklahoma employee for IT work.
Brinkman, along with others, said the Edmond Police Department deserves the new space. She said she will be checking on the demolition from time to time both in person and online.
To view the progress online, visit edmondok.com, click on “Current Projects,” select “Public Safety Center” and when directed to the PSC page click on “Live Streaming.”
Schiermeyer said he’s excited about the design for the Public Safety Center, which will fit in well with the downtown area. Bids for the project were expected to be approved by the end of spring. Construction will take about 18 months to two years.
The estimated totals for the construction will be $25.65 million for the downtown facility, $3.14 million for a support ancillary facility and $3.5 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment. Estimated total for both buildings is $32.29 million.
Edmond Police Maj. Steve Thompson said he sees the demolition of the building as a symbol of change and progress. Thompson said there has been talk about making a time capsule for the PSC, which would give Edmondites 50 years from now, or so, a glimpse at our way of life.
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