TCC Center for Creativity Good for Business

The downtown Tulsa streetscape got a lot more creative this year with the completion of Tulsa Community College’s Center for Creativity, situated on the southwest corner of Boston Avenue and Ninth Street.
The 46,289-SF, Selser Schaefer Architects-designed building, which recently won the Honor Award at AIA Eastern Oklahoma’s Design Excellence Awards, houses the college’s communications, visual arts and digital media programs, but it does even more for downtown and the Tulsa business community.
Selser Schaefer took care to ensure the glass and steel structure integrates with the streetscape of downtown, reflecting the center’s mission of integrating education and its students with the community at large.
TCC’s long-time commitment to downtown is further demonstrated with the center’s addition, making the college a major downtown property owner. Its urban campus comprises more than nine acres.
A $14 million higher education bond issued by the state of Oklahoma funded the building itself. To equip the building with state-of-the-art radio, television, computer and art equipment, the college embarked on a $1 million capital campaign, asking for private donations from individuals.
TCC halted that campaign, though, in light of the worsening economy, according to TCC’s vice president of external affairs, Lauren Brookey. The campaign fell short of its goal by $600,000. Although it has installed the equipment needed to operate the television and radio studios and the computer labs, the visual arts department, housed in the west wing of the building’s third floor, remains empty, as does the east wing of the fourth floor, which will house the college’s IT systems and staff.
Brookey said the school won’t be asking investors for funds until the economic outlook improves.
But even though the Center for Creativity isn’t yet fully equipped (TCC officials say the visual arts department will be ready for fall 2010 classes), it’s an exciting addition to the college and to downtown. Both the building’s exterior and interior inspire creativity. The sleek design, plentiful windows and open space encourage thought and the interchange of ideas.
There are a number of gathering spaces, which both students and the community can utilize, and every blank wall is equipped to display artwork.
As a former TCC student, I’m excited for the opportunities the center will provide students and slightly jealous that I never had the chance to learn there.
As a member of the business community and the media, however, I (and you) can be a part of the center’s future and its impact on the city.
The center was designed to inspire creativity in the community. Its first-floor event center, which can seat 190 to 250 people, is available for use by students and the community for events, meetings and colloquia. The space’s glass front doors were designed to allow the opportunities taking place inside the event center to spill out onto the street.
In addition, there are other gathering spaces on the upper floors that allow folks to meet in a creative atmosphere. A balcony hangs over the sidewalk on Boston, allowing artists and students full view of the downtown skyline to inspire their creative efforts. That space may also be used for classes and meetings, as may the patio off of the third floor’s green roof and the covered plaza on the third floor.
In addition to providing meeting space for the business community, TCC hopes to build partnerships with it, fostering collaborations between it and TCC students and faculty, and draw inspiration for creatively developing new and existing businesses.
“We hope the building will be a catalyst for the new partnership (between TCC and the community) and new ideas in education and business development,” Brookey told TBJ.
The Center for Creativity is TCC’s gift, not only to its students, but to the business community as well, and I hope its members will appreciate and embrace it. The center’s involvement in business development and encouragement of creative ideas and creative thinking could make all the difference in the world in comparing Tulsa’s business community to those of cities similar in size and scope to Tulsa.
TCC has exhibited its commitment to Tulsa’s business community by investing in downtown, educating future local business leaders and supporting business development, entrepreneurship and creativity in the city. Now is time for Tulsa’s business community to show its commitment to education and to TCC.



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