The Edmond Sun

October 23, 2012

Deer Creek tops out new arts center

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Deer Creek Board of Education members past and present, administrators and representatives from Renaissance Architects + Engineers and Flintco Construction were on hand Tuesday for the Topping Out Ceremony and Steel Beam Signing of the last architectural structure for the Deer Creek Performing Arts & Athletic Center. This new building is being built on the Deer Creek High School campus at 20701 N. MacArthur.

“Topping started in Scandinavia years ago,” said Ronnie Peace, Flintco vice president of management.

When the ceremony moved to New York, workers would erect a tree on top to signify the project was finished and to show their commitment to safety and that the building was ready for use, Peace added.

The completion of the building to this point, covering 365 days, has been done without any accidents.

The PAAC walls made of concrete range from 21-feet to 55-feet tall and the tallest one weighs 64,000 pounds or 32 tons, said Jeremy Halferty, program manager for Flintco.

“That is 4,700 cubic yards of concrete or 470 truckloads lined up one behind the other,” Halferty said. “There are 425 tons of steel and 450 geo-piers using compacted rock structure under the building.”’

Board members thought they would celebrate the topping out portion of the building in 2013.

“We thought we would be at this point 5 years from now,” School Board President David Miller said, “but because we were able to compress our funding and were able to get some lease purchase money until our tax base grows we were able to finish the project earlier than we had earlier expected.

“We need this for the students and for the community, and we thank our voters for making it possible. Our community will be able to use the PAAC for events and meetings when we are finished.”

Calling the project the crown jewel of all the construction projects Deer Creek has undertaken, Miller said, “This building is going to get an awful lot of use by an awful lot of kids. Isn’t that what it is all about?”

Socrates Lazaridis, owner of Renaissance Architect + Engineers, said the facility represents 15,000 hours of architects’ work.

“The 10-year Master Plan is becoming concrete and steel five years earlier than expected,” Lazaridis said.

Funds to pay for the new building were raised by the passage of the most recent bond, Bond Election 39, for $142.1 million passed in 2009.

Former Board President Jan Larson was on the board when the bond issue passed and said, “It is so wonderful to see what the Deer Creek children will be able to use. It is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see the students on-stage.”

John Robertson, who has on the board for two terms said, “I am super excited and looking forward to great performances both on the court and on the stage. It is great that another group will be able to use it.”

Built directly on top of the old varsity softball field between the middle school and football fields, the structure rises above the rest of the campus buildings.

Groundbreaking for the 122,162-square-foot facility at a cost of $24.5 million took place a year ago to the day. The 6A school facility will provide the district and the community with additional room for athletics, band, orchestra, choir and drama.

The facility is expected to be open for the fall 2013 school year.

Miller said plans for the new Performing Arts Center include district use as well as extending the use of it to the community for concerts, workshops and conferences.

The performing arts auditorium will seat 1,500 people and will feature a multi-purpose room, sound booth, stage, orchestra pit, catwalk with big screen, service space with overhead door, scenery and costume shop, drama room, dressing rooms, performers’ lounge and band and vocal music rooms with practice rooms, libraries and office spaces.

The athletic facility will seat more than 2,000 people and will include an elevator, offices and training facilities, lockers, storage, laundry and conference rooms.

“We are really looking forward to the opening of the awesome facilities,” said Athletic Director Bob Diefenderfer. “These will serve our growing community in a beautiful way for generations.”