Oklahoma City Breaks Ground on New Convention Center
Oklahoma City is gearing up to welcome a brand new convention center. On June 15, officials from the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau (OKC CVB), local civic leaders and other dignitaries gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $288 million Oklahoma City Convention Center, which will open debt-free in 2020.
“This is a great day for Oklahoma City,” said Mike Carrier, OKC CVB president. “This totally new convention center marks a significant milestone in OKC’s commitment to the meetings and convention industry.”
Designed by the architecture and design firms of Populous and GSB, the new OCCC will include a 200,000 square foot exhibit hall, a 30,000 sq. ft. ballroom and 45,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space, and will be adjacent to the upper section of the new 70-acre Scissortail Park, set to open in 2019.
The convention center’s sleek and modern design will offer sweeping downtown views and use materials designed for energy efficiency and weather resiliency, while the gleaming, angular façade will feature towering glass walls to make maximum use of natural light and take its design cues from Oklahoma City’s sky, landscape and architectural character.
The 200,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall will dominate the ground floor and feature three operable walls, making it divisible into four flexible spaces.
A total of 45,000 square feet of meeting spaces will be situated on all levels of the building, many with operable walls to make the spaces flexible and able to be configured to provide up to 27 individual meeting spaces.
A 30,000 sq. ft. ballroom will constitute the main space on the fourth level, complemented by 10,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space and a 4,000 sq. ft. balcony.
Informal meeting spaces, a kitchen, a potential café space, an expansive loading dock and administrative offices are also planned for the convention center.
Outside the facility, landscaping will use native plants and trees well-suited to the local climate with a focus on sustainability, comfort and beauty, while outdoor spaces will include a spacious central plaza.
Wayfinding stations inside and outside the convention center will be interactive.
A skywalk will connect the building to the future 605-room Omni Hotel & Resorts headquarter hotel, which is being developed to complement and support the convention center. Also expected to be finished in 2020, it will offer approximately 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The park, convention center and headquarter hotel will all be linked to attractions, dining and nightlife in districts around downtown by the new six-mile OKC Streetcar system, which will be operational by December of this year.
“This is the only totally new build convention center underway in the United States,” said Carrier. “Once the new center, the Omni headquarter hotel the new Scissortail Park and the OKC Streetcar are all complete in 2020, Oklahoma City will be a completely new destination in the south-central U.S. for meetings of all sizes.”
The convention center is the largest single construction project in Oklahoma City’s history, as well as the largest of eight MAPS 3 capital improvement projects funded by a 1-cent sales tax.
“Meeting planners are going to be wowed by Oklahoma City’s new offerings,” said Dennis Johnston, OKC CVB vice president of sales. “And the fact that the center will open debt-free really sets Oklahoma City apart.”
In conjunction with the groundbreaking, the OKC CVB has launched MeetInOKC.com, designed to keep meeting planners and others up-to-date on all convention center news leading up to the opening, as well as act as a guide to Oklahoma City for planners and attendees.