TULSA, Oklahoma - U.S. Postal Service officials say studies begun last year led to the decision to close the Tulsa Processing and Distribution Center.

The move will consolidate all mail processing operations in the state to the Oklahoma City Processing and Distribution Center. 

Once the transfer is completed, the center near 21st and I-44 will only house the USPS' Retail Unit and Business Mail Entry Unit.  These units are where mailers are brought in bulk to be distributed by the Postal Service. 

The Tulsa center is closing because the postal service says it must cut costs. It also says next-day delivery will soon be unlikely for the entire nation.

The consolidation of Tulsa's mail sorting facility is all about numbers.

"I've been with the company for 28 years now," said postal worker David Reese.

Reese is one of the nearly 600 workers at the Tulsa center wondering what's next.

"A little bit of anger, as can be expected, a little bit of disbelief, a little bit of shock," he said.

The postal service says when a plant closes; it does not mean every employee loses their job. It's still unclear who transfers, who gets an early retirement package or who loses out entirely.

"I'm flexible. Whatever happens, if we move or if we have to do whatever we have to do, we'll do what we have to do," Reese said.

The postal service says the decision was difficult. The agency has seen a 25 percent decline in First-Class mailings and receives no tax dollars. It can save $11 million a year with the Tulsa closure.

The USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan said, "Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation."

The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce says the closure will be a $73.5 million hit to the local economy. The other thing that would take a hit is mail delivery.

Delivery standards are changing, whether a plant closes or not. Tulsa's center serves the entire eastern half of the state with zip codes starting in 740, 741 and 743.

It handles over a million pieces of mail daily. Under the consolidation, Oklahoma City's processing facility will handle mail for the entire state.

That means local Tulsa mail will be collected, trucked 114 miles to OKC, processed, and then trucked back for delivery.

Deliveries will take 2 to 3 days. One of the only ways next day delivery is possible is by driving your mail to Oklahoma City's center by around 8am.

The postal service says it will also close processing centers in McAlester, Poteau and Woodward.

The Tulsa closure won't happen any earlier than May 15th. Incidentally, the postal service says it may raise the price of a first class stamp to 50 cents to help with revenue.

The following is information provided by the USPS:

What is the proposed change to service standards within the 48 contiguous states?
Priority Mail: 1−3 days
First-Class Mail: 2−3 days*
Periodicals: 2−9 days*
Package Services: 1−8 days
Standard Mail: 2−10 days

*Overnight service to the local service area could be possible based on mail entry times Non-contiguous U.S. locations will also be realigned to align the service standards with the capability of the networks.

Would Express Mail service change?
Express Mail will continue to provide overnight service.

Would Priority Mail service change?
Priority Mail will continue to be a 1-3 day product.

What does this change mean to the average customer?
Customers will likely no longer receive mail the day after it is mailed. In all likelihood, this change is expected to have minimal impact on the average postal customer.