October 11, 2002


Photo - See caption on right. Congressman Ernest Istook, Dr. Robert P. Todd, president of
Oklahoma City Community College, David Culbertson, project engineer for the U.S. Department of Commerce -- Economic Development Administration, Bob Funk, chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Richard Burpee, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and Congressman Frank Lucas await the presentation of the $1.5 million check. The funds will be used to establish the Oklahoma City
Enterprise Center on the second and third floors of the First National Center in Downtown Oklahoma City.

$1.5 Million Grant Targets Downtown OKC

A $1.5 million Public Works grant from the Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department
of Commerce, has been awarded to renovate the second and third floors of the First National Center in order to establish the Oklahoma City Enterprise Center. The Center is designed to provide business development and training services to new and expanding businesses.

Oklahoma City Community College, the higher education partner, received the grant monies. OCCC serves as the managing agent for the Downtown College Consortium, which is located in the First National Center. The partners in the project include OCCC, the First National Center, L.L.C., the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the City
of Oklahoma City, the Downtown College Consortium, the Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center, and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

A $375,000 match requirement in the grant will be met by the First National Center, Oklahoma City Community College and its partners.

Oklahoma City Community College President Bob Todd said this is a great partnership that will promote economic development in the downtown area. "With the assistance of Congressman Ernest Istook and Congressman Frank Lucas, we were able to develop this project to provide educational training services for businesses in the metro area."

Congressman Istook commended Oklahoma City Community College for its leadership and bringing together so many people to make this vision a reality. "This project demonstrates the kind of partnership and cooperation that we all need and enjoy. I know we're here because a lot of people refused to give up, and I congratulate everyone for pushing forward and overcoming the obstacles."

The Oklahoma City Enterprise Center will be a one-stop shop that provides assistance for entrepreneurs seeking to launch, incubate, or expand their business and for existing companies seeking training and education to enhance the skill base of its employees. The 44,000 square feet of renovated space at the First National Center will be utilized in several ways.

Jane Price, senior vice president of property management at the First National Center, said approximately 11,000 square feet will be preserved as public space in the First National's Great Banking Hall. The treasured historic space will be transformed into a business resource center. The Downtown College Consortium will relocate its existing 9,236 square feet from the fifth floor to the second floor. The Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center will reside in 2,000 square feet of space offering their technology support and venture capital services to start-up businesses.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this new initiative in downtown Oklahoma City," said Dr. Randy Goldsmith, executive director of the Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center. "This is a continuation of our statewide effort to assist Oklahoma companies."

The remaining square footage will be used as business incubator space within the Enterprise Center. The architectural plans and the design work for the newly renovated space will begin the first of the year.

Contact: Jessica Martinez-Brooks, (405) 682-7590, jmbrooks@okccc.edu