Muscogee (Creek) Nation frustrated by new building's closure
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 20, 2013
1/20/13 at 6:04 AM
OKMULGEE - It is unknown when the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's domed multipurpose center, which has been closed for months due to structural concerns, can reopen to the public.
But one thing is certain - the closure of a brand new building that was used for less than a year has been an ongoing source of frustration among tribal members.
Chief George Tiger ordered the $4 million structure closed in April 2012 after consulting with engineering and construction experts who found "that the strength and structural integrity" of the structure had been compromised during its construction.
The experts said "some of the materials used to complete the building are of substandard quality which need to be replaced," according to Tiger's executive order.
Located on the campus of the tribe's Claude A. Cox Omniplex off U.S. 75 and Loop 56, it had been open for less than a year before it was closed in April 2012.
Tiger said in his order that the experts would be conducting a review to ensure that the building is safe for the public.
The tribe declined to provide any additional information or identify which entity - the designer, general contractor or subcontractors - was responsible for the alleged deficiencies.
On Saturday, Tiger referred any inquiries on the subject to Attorney General Roger Wiley due to the potential for litigation. Wiley was not immediately available.
Calls to Michael McCoy of Midwest City, the architect on the project, were not returned. McCoy's website touts the benefits of the Monolithic Dome design including climate control, energy efficiency and the ability to function for multiple uses - including a storm shelter.
McCoy's firm also built dome buildings for Beggs and Okemah public schools.
It has not been confirmed whether the building's problems have anything to do with the dome itself.
While open, it hosted Tiger's inauguration ceremonies in front of a packed house in January 2012 and hosted other events, including the tribe's festival held each June.
There were high hopes for the facility as it was being built. It was envisioned as a family attraction with a wide variety of sporting and entertainment events. It was hoped to be a huge draw for the area, seating more than 1,900.
The 20,000-square-foot building also features classrooms, concessions and multi-use areas.
Original Print Headline: Building's closure frustrates tribe
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381