By Caleb Slinkard
When Norman dentist Gabriel Bird's multistory office building opens in downtown Norman next month, it will represent the culmination of three years of work.
Bird's practice will operate on the second floor (there's an elevator), with an additional operating chair, some new equipment and a more efficient patient flow.
"It's a bit surreal," he said. "It's been over three years in the making at this point. It's very exciting. I can't wait to get down there. We'll be able to see patients a little more seamlessly; a good patient volume without sacrificing patient care, which is always what we put first."
The weather has slowed down some of the final projects, but Bird said the inside finishing work can be completed by subcontractors simultaneously. They'll close for Spring break (March 18-22) and reopen in the new location on March 25.
The grand opening celebration and Norman Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting is slated for April 12 in conjunction with the April 2nd Friday Art Walk.
"The ribbon cutting is at 4 p.m., and we'll have an open house and be open all evening," Bird said. "The timing was very serendipitous -- the April art walk is one of the most well-attended, and it's the first one where Main Street will be closed (from Webster Avenue to Porter Avenue). The stars just aligned."
The move actually means there's more parking for his office, although Bird said he's exploring additional parking options if that becomes necessary. Individuals who work downtown will be able to walk to his office.
"The ground floor will be all tenant space, and we're getting more and more interest in the first floor as we're nearing completion," Bird said. "We'll have off-street parking options if we need. It will be pretty easy to get in and out, and we'll be walkable for a lot of professionals."
Just to the east of the new building is TOLY Park (227 W. Main St.), which opened last year. The food truck park has a new fully stocked bar, and will be open for the April 12 art walk, which Bird said is typically when the food truck season will begin.
"That will be the start of our regular season, and we'll definitely have trucks out there [on April 12]," he said. "We're ready to get this weather behind us and have regular openings."