The Norman Transcript

Local news

June 8, 2014

Just a vision, for now: Native American cultural center still needs $80 million in funding

OKLAHOMA CITY — In addition to closed-toed shoes, someone who visits the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum these days must bring one other thing — an imagination.

A flowing grand staircase, café, gift shop, complex Smithsonian-sponsored exhibits, timelines, glass entryways, elevators and restrooms — all are still details on drawings. Enthusiastic supporters of the center promise these touches will be “magnificent” — eventually — once Oklahoma legislators find the final $80 million to complete the project.

A plan to finish off the center with a public-private match fizzled two weeks ago, when lawmakers closed their session for the year without putting up their $40 million share.

The unfinished Cultural Center and Museum ran out of money July 1, 2012. No work has been done since, though taxpayers still spend about $68,000 a month for heating and cooling, mechanical warranties and security personnel.

The center has cost about $91 million so far, with more than two-thirds of that coming from state coffers. All there is to show for that investment is the shell of a building with working machinery like the heating and cooling systems in the basement.

Outside the center, on a 300-acre site at the intersection of Interstates 40 and 35, are sweeping views of the Oklahoma City skyline and Oklahoma River. The inside is incomplete and useless without more work.

“If this result is allowed to stand, I believe it would be appropriate for the people of Oklahoma to question our competency,” said State Sen. David Holt in a statement released in May when news broke that the center would not be funded yet again.

“No one should beat their chests over a perceived victory. The state still has an $80 million problem on the Oklahoma River, in our capital city, at the most prominent location in my community,” Holt said. “… If this result stands, it will haunt my community for years, and it should haunt the legacy of those in this building who could have done something about it.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Nova Pettigrew Deli plans benefit Thursday night for young cancer patient

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then crawling.
    Pettigrew had never heard of RMS, a rare form of cancer that affects nerves and has hampered Nova’s ability to move, but almost immediately, when doctors at OU Children’s Hospital started intense rounds of chemo, he quit his job to be by his daughter’s side.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Norman High student argues his way to the top

    Knowing the ins and outs of an argument that involves complex research is the type of skill one expects a high paid attorney to have not a high school student. Yet debate competitor Nicky Halterman has been arguing his way to the top of ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Baker home 3 Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Casey Dawn Sanders, 37, obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud · Amiremad Nayebyazdi, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • OU officials confirm student died in car wreck

    University of Oklahoma officials confirmed Tuesday that recent car wreck victim Taylor Witcher was an OU student in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Witcher died after a three-car collision around 12:35 a.m. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged after Sunday shooting A Norman woman was charged after shooting several rounds toward a residence Sunday. When officers found her, she exhibited signs of intoxication and had drugs on her, records show. Teresa Renee Haas, ...

    July 30, 2014