Michael Konopasek, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – The "drunk tank" serves as an alternative to jail, where Oklahoma City police send people who have had too much to drink. Soon, it will have a new home, and the move will save the city money.
The Oklahoma City Metro Alliance and the city opened the public detoxification center in 1973. It's intended for people who did not commit a major crime, but perhaps had one too many beers in Bricktown.
Currently, it's in an old firehouse just north of Bricktown. It has a small collection of cots people can lie on until they sober up. Employees say the building is old and it's time for an upgrade.
Soon, a new state-of-the-art facility will open at Virginia and Linwood, which has the organization's executive director, Ann Simank, excited.
"You won't find many cities that have facility like this," Simank said.
Simank says the new building is a major improvement from the current building. The current location can hold 32 people while the new one will hold 85. That means the city will spend less money keeping people in jail for a night for public intoxication, and police will not have to spend as much time writing lengthy arrest reports.
Simank says it costs the city about $40 a day to hold someone for drinking, while her program can do it at half the cost.
A $1.3 million bond issue funded the new location. The building itself cost $300,000, which left $1 million for remodeling.
"It's just a good atmosphere for employees and clients alike," Simank said.
Her employees agree.
"It's a huge upgrade," said detention monitor Bruce Migliaccio. "It's like having an old Mac computer and then just getting a brand new IBM."
The center's move is expected to take place the week of June 26. The current building in Bricktown is scheduled to be torn down and replaced with a hotel.