New Oklahoma City federal building scheduled to open in November

Monday, September 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The exterior of a new three-story, horseshoe-shaped federal building in downtown Oklahoma City is nearly complete, on time for a late November opening.

Work remaining on the building, which is on the block adjacent to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, includes wiring and furniture installation, said General Services Administration spokesman Leonard Murphy.

Unlike the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, blown up by a terrorist's truck bomb April 19, 1995, the new one won't be named after a person _ at least not when it opens. The structure will be called the Oklahoma City Federal Building, an official in U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook's office said.

Also, the $33 million, 180,000-square-foot building will not include a daycare center or law enforcement agencies as tenants.

Officials did not want to bring back certain things destroyed in the bombing, Murphy said.

A few federal employees have said they do not want to move into the new building, mostly because of its proximity to the place where 168 people were killed. But new security measures have calmed most fears, officials said.

The building is set back 50 feet from surrounding streets, and concrete plugs prevent vehicles from getting close to the walls. Windows are treated to minimize injuries in the event of an explosion.

``It's probably the most secure as far as design that is in the federal inventory today,'' said Matt Madison, director of the General Service Administration's Oklahoma City service center. ``It has an intensive approach to the security of both the building itself and potential threats to it.''

Madison said the project is a source of pride for those working on it.

``This is a statement to the world with the rebuilding,'' he said.

Several agencies have committed or are likely to commit to move to the building. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Military Enlistment Processing Station and the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration are expected to be the primary tenants.

The Office of Veteran's Affairs, the Small Business Administration and the Food and Drug Administration also are expected to move there.

Tom Hall, a bombing survivor and construction representative for the General Services Administration, is looking forward to the move.

``For me personally, it's helping get me closer back to where we were,'' he said.