Touring Devon Tower: Oklahoma's Tallest Building

Monday, May 23rd 2011, 8:51 pm
By: News 9

Alex Cameron, Oklahoma Impact Team

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Devon Tower is now the tallest building in the state of Oklahoma, surpassing Tulsa's 667-foot Bank of Oklahoma Tower. But the Devon building is not finished growing.

The impressive skyscraper is closing in on a planned height of 850 feet and 50 stories, but also impressive is the "bucket hoist" that takes workers and executives straight up the side of the building. It goes up to the 37th floor, where the Oklahoma wind whips by at furious speeds.

Devon Executive Chairman Larry Nichols says the building's shape will help shed the wind.

"This will give, but it doesn't have that whiplash effect."

For construction crews working constantly on the Devon Tower, whistles warn of moving loads and crews are all business. More than 1,000 workers are on site each day.

"The morning shift starts early in the morning, about 1,200 people work here all day," said Nichols. "Then during the evening and midnight hours, it goes down to a staff of 65 or 75, something like that."

It's essentially a 24-7 operation; massive in every way, including the $750 million price tag. Devon employees are reminded every day of the place that will soon be home, and Nichols says that will be sooner than expected, as the project is ahead of schedule.

"The construction itself has gone fairly quickly. We're building one floor a week."

Nichols says the different trades doing the build-out are keeping pace through efficiencies.

"This plumbing unit is constructed off site, and so when the plumber gets ready to install it, the whole thing has already been built and tested."

Our tour took us to seventh floor, the test floor, where sub-contractors can work out any kinks.

We finish in the six-story, glass rotunda. It's Nichols' pride and joy because it ties the entire headquarters together. And, being open to the public, it will further tie together Devon and the city it's called home since Nichols and his father founded it 40 years ago.

"When we hired the architects, we looked very carefully," said Nichols. "We wanted a building that would be a source of pride for our employees, for our company and for the city."

Nichols says he expects employees to start moving into the building by next February, with the entire move complete by July. About 1,800 people will work in the building.