Arena design to transform campus
Published Dec 16, 2020
"It's pretty awesome"
Reed Architecture and Interiors has designed a new multi-purpose arena for Tulsa (OK) East Central High School.
"We are so excited by this," said East Central Principal Mike Crase. "We're really looking forward to the transformation it's going to bring to our school and community. Everyone's just excited to have a facility like this on our campus!"
This 56,486-square-foot project, approved under Tulsa Public Schools' March 2015 bond election, marks the fifth such complex Reed Architecture has finished for the district, and the firm's ninth high school sports facility completed in metropolitan Tulsa.
The new arena will rise just west of the 12150 E. 11 St. high school's main entrance, directly connecting to the campus.
"I really wanted the arena located on that spot, for I wanted people in our community to easily see it from 11th Street," said Crase, who has served as that high school's principal for eight years. "It's just going to be a shining star on our campus."
The arena will utilize a steel structure with an outer skin of brick, polycarbonate panels, and insulated metal panels. This echoes styles used on the McLain High School Field House, a Reed design that opened in November 2019. The new arena also respects the character of East Central's existing campus, a unique 1960s design with curved brick walls and few windows.
"I like what they're doing now with lighter wall panels and other new construction materials," said Crase. "They allow us to bring light in from the outside through those panels, and yet it's still secure. It's really innovative and forward-thinking."
That existing campus was designed during the Cold War, when fears of nuclear war reigned. That explains the lack of windows and wall thickness in areas that could double as a fallout shelter.
“Mixing existing materials with new energy-efficient products helps foundations and structural requirements, and still ties the new facility into the context of the existing building,” said Reed Architecture principal David Reed. “This reduces costs and construction time, and provides a strong connection with the past and present.”
The addition will boast a 1,118-seat arena and concourse, concession stand, auxiliary gym, study room, conference room, athletic offices, sports medicine and training rooms, and locker rooms for campus basketball, wrestling, and volleyball teams. A hospitality room will overlook both the arena and gym.
"It's pretty awesome," Crase said of the design. "The facility offers so many new opportunities for student and community use. Our old arena, which dates back to when this school was built, could only be reached by entering the high school. This one will have its own access. That's just a huge positive. I wouldn't have it any other way!"
General contractor Flintco should begin construction this winter for completion during the 2021-22 basketball season. Flintco also built the McLain field house.