Officials to break ground on Jim Thorpe building renovations

By: - October 23, 2023 5:29 am

The Jim Thorpe Office Building will undergo extensive renovations. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for Monday. (Photo by Carmen Foreman/Oklahoma Voice)

State officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to celebrate the start of $70 million in renovations to an 85-year-old state building.

The ceremony will mark the start of a multi-year renovation project on the Jim Thorpe Office Building. Funded by a bond package approved by lawmakers in 2022, the building will undergo comprehensive repairs, renovations and remodeling.

Nathan Wald, Office of Enterprise and Management Services capital assets administrator, said in a statement that historical restoration of sites like the Jim Thorpe building are vital to modernized government operations.

“Following our comprehensive restoration of the State Capitol Building, we are carrying that focus forward to this project,” Wald said. “Our goal is to breathe new life into the 85-year-old building, bring it up to current standards and preserve its cultural significance for generations to come.”

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil, gas and utilities, is the primary tenant in the building but additional agencies may take up space after the project is completed in June 2026, OMES spokesperson Christa Helfrey said in an email.

Until renovations are complete, the Corporation Commission is temporarily located in the Will Rogers Building, at 2401 N. Lincoln Blvd.

Repairs will ensure compliance with current building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal is to create a functional, collaborative work environment for employees, according to a release from OMES.

Repairs include a new HVAC system, energy efficient windows, historic mural restoration, and Corporation Commission courtroom relocation to the first floor for easier public access, Helfrey said.

The building was completed in 1938. Constructed by the Public Works Administration during the Great Depression, the building was later renamed in 1961 for Oklahoma Native American Olympic athlete, and professional baseball and football player, Jim Thorpe.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the building located at 2101 N. Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City.



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Mindy Ragan Wood
Mindy Ragan Wood

Mindy covers the legislature for Oklahoma Voice. Her areas of focus include infrastructure, municipal government policies, and human services with an emphasis on the needs of intellectually vulnerable and physically challenged adults.