Decision on who will design the Vision 2025 arena project to be made this week

Monday, February 9th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Progress on the Tulsa Vision 2025 plan. Tulsa's mayor gets ready to pick the architect for the biggest project in the Vision package, the downtown arena.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says by this time next year - construction could be underway on a four block of downtown Tulsa. The area would be cleared off and something that will be an unmistakable icon of Tulsa.

Sparks Architects is working out the wrinkles on one of the most important presentations they'll ever make. Sparks is one of four architecture firms competing to design Tulsa's new arena. Peter Eisenman, architect: “It's a tough competition and I love tough competition.” Each firm hired an internationally known architect to consult - Sparks hired Peter Eisenman. “What we're trying to do is put Tulsa on a beam and I think we want to say that Tulsa has a spirit and an energy that is worth understanding across the country.”

The Vision 2025 ‘project oversight committee’ spent Monday listening to ideas from 3 of the architects. The fourth one is Tuesday. The decision is up to Mayor Bill LaFortune. “We want a signature icon facility that will symbolize Tulsa well after 2025. When people look at Tulsa and the architecture, this will be something that will make people think of Tulsa.”

Once the architect is chosen, the city has to buy and demolish all these buildings. That could happen quickly - the mayor wants construction to start here by the end of the year.

Written proposals came in last month - and now each architect - gets to make a final presentation in hopes of winning the project. Mike Buchart, assistant Tulsa public works director is a member of the oversight committee. “We want it to be very functional so if you come up in a car or walk up you'll know where the front door is, where it's an icon that you could look at and know this means the Tulsa metropolitan area.”

The competition started with a 12 firms - now it's down to four. Sparks makes their presentation Tuesday. The decision could be made as soon as Tuesday - but at the latest by the end of the week.