OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Construction work is beginning for a new, $15 million Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation facility after the previous headquarters was damaged by a flood in 2013.
Demolition is underway at the old headquarters, located about five blocks south of the Oklahoma Capitol. Floodwaters caused about $50,000 in damage to the former headquarters, and state wildlife officials opted to replace the structure rather than repair the damage.
Melinda Sturgess-Streich, the assistant director of the Wildlife Conservation Department, told The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2hgT12i ) that although the 2013 flooding only damaged the building's auditorium, it would have been costly to do a full renovation of the property, which was dedicated in 1966.
"Although the damage to the auditorium was slightly over $50,000, because the building was not ADA compliant, did not have a sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, and contained small levels of asbestos, the cost to renovate was a great deal more," she said. "The estimated cost to complete the renovation was $530,000."
The new building, which is scheduled to be complete by 2018, is funded by revenue from hunting and fishing licenses, Sturgess-Streich said.
"It has been designed to include a strong education component to be a destination for our outdoors-minded customers, in addition to being more energy efficient, safer, leak-proof, technologically advanced, ADA-compliant, modern and fitness-oriented," she said.
Johnny Hill, the property manager for the Wildlife Conservation Department, said the former headquarters was crowded and in need of an expansion.
"Before, in this building, in some offices, we had three or four people," he said. "We were just crammed in there like sardines."