Broken Arrow To Create 'Innovation District'

Monday, March 27th 2017, 2:37 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The city of Broken Arrow says it's about to do something no other city in Oklahoma has done before. 

It's in the process of creating a hub that would involve education, manufacturing and housing. It’s expected to bring thousands of jobs to the city.

One goal of the Innovation District is to connect students to companies they want to work for at a central location in Broken Arrow.

BA high school senior Derek Zyburt knows exactly what he wants to do.

"I want to be a sand scene machinist," he said.

And, like many other Tulsa Tech students, he's got a plan.

"Really, here I wanna work for a company called Tulsa Winch Group - it's over in Glenpool," Zyburt said.

But others are finding opportunities outside of Oklahoma; that’s one reason Mayor Craig Thurmond said it's time for an Innovation District.

"There's no one else in the whole state doing anything like what we're doing," Thurmond said.

The district, similar to others around the country, will serve as a hub of high-tech manufacturing businesses - kind of like Oklahoma's own Silicon Valley.

Thurmond said, "I think it'll be a lot centered on what our forte is - which is aerospace aviation and energy business will be a lot of it, but it will be open to any kind of innovative design."

One goal is to keep locals like Zyburt in town.

"We'll use some of our best minds that we have in education, working with our best minds we have in industry to create products that are unique," Thurmond said.

But, the mayor said the city is thinking even bigger.

"We need something that's truly going to attract people internationally," he said.

Broken Arrow is considering three locations for the district. The mayor said it should be ready in a few years - reaching its full potential in 10 to 15 years.

The City said Tulsa Tech is very likely to partner with the Innovation District.