The Oklahoma City Council voted Tuesday to approve the preliminary report for the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center, bringing it one step closer to its scheduled groundbreaking late this year.
The convention center, to be located south of Chesapeake Energy Arena adjacent to the future MAPS 3 Park, will feature sleek modern design, sweeping downtown views, 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.
“We’ve always considered the new convention center to be a community space that serves as Oklahoma City’s living room,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. “The preliminary report shows it all coming together, and the next steps are the final design and requesting bids from contractors.”
The massive exhibit hall dominates the ground floor and features three operable walls that can divide it into four smaller spaces, providing flexible layouts for different uses.
Meeting rooms are on all levels of the building, and many also have operable walls to make the spaces flexible. They can be configured to provide up to 27 individual meeting spaces.
The fourth level of the building is dedicated to the ballroom, which is complemented by 10,000 square feet of pre-function space and a 4,000-square-foot panoramic balcony.
Informal meeting spaces, a kitchen, a potential café space, an expansive loading dock and administrative offices are also planned for the convention center.
The gleaming, angular façade has towering glass walls to make maximum use of natural light and takes its design cues from Oklahoma City’s sky, landscape and architectural character.
The building will also make use of design elements and construction materials to maximize energy efficiency and resilience against weather conditions, which is especially important for a west-facing building in Oklahoma City’s unpredictable climate.
The interior design combines metallic, reflective surfaces with warm, rich wood tones and stacked stone textures.
Landscaping outside the convention center will use native plants and trees well-suited to the local climate, with a focus on sustainability, comfort and beauty. A central plaza and other inviting spaces will help the convention center’s exterior come alive with activity.
Wayfinding stations inside and outside the convention center will be interactive.
The estimated total cost of the convention center is about $194 million. The MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center project budget is $288 million and includes other costs like property acquisition.
MAPS 3 is a $777 million capital improvement program to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City. It is funded by a 1-cent sales tax initiative that began in April 2010 and ends in December 2017. MAPS 3 funds eight projects: Downtown Convention Center, Downtown Public Park, Modern Streetcar/Transit, Oklahoma River Improvements, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Improvements, Senior Health and Wellness Centers, Trails and Sidewalks.