Water Works Building

Location: Oklahoma
Services: Construction Management | Design
Size: 125,000sq/ft
Owner: Business Owner/Co

Bringing Fine Arts to Children – WaterWorks Art Center

The City of Tulsa WaterWorks Art Studio is housed in a renovated historical building in Newblock Park that once served as Tulsa’s water treatment plant and later became the site of the City’s first swimming (wading) pool. The pool was presented to the children of Tulsa by Frank H. reed and Isabelle S. Reed in 1945. The original WaterWorks name was incorporated into the name of the studio in order to maintain the historical roots of the site. After the pool closed, the city used the building for offices and storage while the pool itself was converted into a parking lot.

Magnum was awarded the contract to preserve the building while completing construction to maintain its historical value. The scope of work included an addition of 965’ of outside classroom along with the remodel of 85% of the entire first floor of the building. Magnum’s own forces self performed 50% of the work including demolition of the existing windows to be restored, selected demolition of the existing brick to be reused to infill the existing entry on the North side for the new art studio. Cast stone had to be made and installed to match exiting window sills and the 18” concrete walls had to be demoed at four locations to add new doors and windows plus one location for a new handicap wheelchair lift. Special care was used in removing the existing wood wainscot since the wainscot was being reinstalled to its original state.

Demolition of the North wing could not commence until the new office was complete and the city employees were relocated. Magnum then demoed the full height partition walls and 4’ high brick selected demolition.

Magnum self performed the construction of the concrete stage and handicap ramp in the art studio as well as the exterior concrete for the new outdoor classroom, main entrance and housekeeping pad. Magnum built all the metal stud walls, installed new doors and hardware; plus installed sound panels on the ceiling and all new millwork plus installed the metal panel fence for the housekeeping pad.

The greatest challenge on this project was working in the confined space located 16’ under the SE studio slab. First a section of the slab had to be cut out in order to access the area, provide ventilation and pump water. The confined space tunnels were only 6’ wide and were filled with years of debris which needed cleared to work.

Magnum also encountered delays with material approval, some taking six months and leaving only three months to do the project. New flood plane surveys during construction made it mandatory for the City of Tulsa to have to waterproof the lower level at the back of the building.

While the City of Tulsa employed a full time inspector to be onsite every day to monitor every stage of the project; Magnum’s own superintendent carefully scheduled subcontractors and vendors to perform their work in the allotted time and maintain the tight work schedule.

Bringing fine arts to children is a major objective of the center. Working with both private and public schools, WaterWorks creates art-enrichment programs for children from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The center also works with school grant programs to provide onsite workshops tailored to the needs of each school. The WaterWorks Art Center Council, a non-profit organization, raises funds for the center, initiates projects, and co-sponsors scholarships for at-risk children.

Each spring and summer WaterWorks offers reasonable-priced fine arts camps for children. Camp projects are theme based and children work in a variety of media for in-depth art experiences. An annual Children’s Art Show is held in August in the center’s gallery.


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