OKC administration office move on hold

Wednesday, February 20th 2008, 7:17 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

The city council held off on approving a deal to let Oklahoma City school district administration offices move into the Journal Record building next to the Murrah Memorial.

One of the concerns is news media doing live shots for a story on the school district, a story that may be unrelated to the Memorial, but which has the Memorial as a backdrop.

The concern for memorial officials is the possibility that the chaos and controversy surrounding last month's resignation of the Oklahoma City schools superintendent could have played out in, or in front of, the Journal Record building

Memorial Executive Director Kari Watkins said that is not an anti-school district issue.

"It really isn't, it is really just working through some of the people moving issues, some of the results of people being on the site and handling that," Watkins said.

During a tour of the building, Watkins pointed out some of the specific concerns she said they have, not just if the school district were to move in, but if anyone were to move in.

One concern is the fact that they would share certain common areas, like the loading dock. Also, they're concerned about the possibility that the additional traffic with the new tenant might compromise the high environmental standards. The memorial has the high standards in place to safeguard their archives which contains thousands of important, sensitive items, many provided by the FBI.

"They were willing to put it here because they believed in the standards we had and know we were going to keep those standards, and we don't want to jeopardize that," Watkins said.

Watkins said they've worked hard to establish the memorial as a place of peace and serenity, and don't want that to change.

"I don't think we're asking too much, and I don't think it's something we can't achieve together," Watkins said.

Other issues they said they need to work through with the school district include building security, parking, and figuring out how to keep the media from making the memorial a backdrop for stories that don't involve it.