Staying in Shape. The Tulsa Zoo has received notification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Accreditation Commission regarding the zoo's accreditation status and an outline of benchmarks the zoo must reach within a one-year timeframe.
The AZA Accreditation Commission voted to table the accreditation of the Tulsa Zoo for a year, citing a number of issues in progress that need to be resolved. The zoo remains an AZA accredited institution, but must continue to address the concerns noted by the Commission, provide quarterly reports of progress and a follow-up inspection must take place prior to the next hearing in 2011, when the AZA will reevaluate the zoo's accreditation status.
The AZA issued a report in May that listed areas of concern throughout the zoo, but also commended veterinary and animal care staff.
Since January, the zoo has addressed many items noted in the report, such as giraffe barn improvements. The City of Tulsa and Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. have been working together to create a public-private structure for the zoo.
This move to privatization was one of the items laid out in the AZA's original report, and has been the focus of the city and the zoo since late 2009.
"We have made great strides with the privatization efforts," said Terrie Correll, zoo director. "The AZA recognizes that the Tulsa Zoo is a good zoo and has great potential, but needs to address some important issues."
Since that time, Tulsa Zoo Friends, Inc. has changed its name to Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. (TZMI) and will serve as the platform for the entity that will manage the zoo. A new board has been seated and a transition coordinator, Tom Baker, has been working diligently since August to facilitate the transition.
"This report from the AZA underscores the need and the benefits of a public-private structure," said TZMI Board President, Phil Lakin, Jr. "The Board is working very closely with the City to ensure that our Tulsa Zoo is set up for short- and long-term success though, ultimately, it's up to the City to save this precious resource. It's important for everyone involved to recognize the importance of the Tulsa Zoo as a sustaining economic and civic asset."
The next step will be to finalize contract negotiations between TZMI and the City of Tulsa. The City of Tulsa will remain the owner of the Tulsa Zoo and one of its largest donors, while TZMI will undertake management of zoo operations. Current city employees will be transitioned under the single TZMI umbrella.
The zoo's move follows three other such governance transitions within the City including the golf courses, the BOK Events Center/Convention Center and Gilcrease Museum.
Excellent Expansion. Clary Sage College (CSC) is expanding the building at its current location at 31st and the Broken Arrow Expressway to include two new programs: interior design and fashion design.
"The expansion of our building and programs at Clary Sage is very exciting for we have been at capacity for over two years. Fashion and Interior design will add a creative element to the campus that will artistically complement our existing programs," said Teresa Knox, founder and CEO.
The existing building is 28,900 square-foot and the expansion will include 20,000 additional square footage. The building is being build off-site and will be shipped to be set on the foundation.
The modular building system is being done by Ramtech Building Systems.
In addition to the new programs (slated to begin enrollment for January 2011), current students in basic cosmetology, esthetics and nail technology will enjoy expanded learning resources, library offerings, a coffee bar, outdoor seating, a courtyard and an extra large computer laboratory.
Saving the Twin
Tulsa has shown incredible interest and support for the rebuilding of the Admiral Twin Drive-In since it was destroyed by fire on Sept. 3. Their heartfelt desire to see this Tulsa landmark rebuilt developed into a cause that was backed by the action, effort and dollars of many. The public took it upon themselves to start a grass roots project to help raise the needed funds and the owners enacted a fundraising committee to help coordinate all the efforts.
Contributions have come from a wide variety of sources that include the personal donation of the Mayor of Tulsa to small businesses and even children's fundraising. It started as the people's cause and the money raised reflects the eclectic appeal of this effort.
After two major entertainment events were staged, and the results of all other projects were tallied, the Save The Admiral Twin Drive-In cause has raised a current total of $33,710.70. More than $17,000 of that amount was raised this last weekend in the benefit show at the Admiral Twin Drive-In.
Now the focus will turn to Phase Two of the plan. A strategy will now be enacted that will be based on the involvement of outside corporate partners and foundations that share the vision of making the Admiral Twin the premier Drive-In facility in the country.
Plans prepared by One Architecture for the new main structure were unveiled at last weekend's event at the Admiral Twin Drive-In. Those plans will be used, along with business proposals in the near future to attract other entities in the development of the new venue.
The funds that have been raised to-date remain a very important investment in the recruitment of outside companies. It shows that the people have an impressive interest in seeing this iconic outdoor theatre come back to life. These contributions will serve as a "down payment" by the people and will play a crucial factor in showing the interest of the general public to potential partners or investors.
Twin co-owner Blake Smith said he has to find some way to come up with the rest of the needed money.
"We're moving forward as much as we possibly can," Smith said. "We haven't raised enough to build the new screen."
Smith said taking out a loan is an option if he can find a bank that is willing to finance the structure.
It has been said before that the owners will donate the raised funds to local charities if the Admiral Twin Drive-In is not rebuilt. That is still the owner's direction. However, those funds are now being seen as very important seed money that will help grander ideas flourish. In the end, the people who have donated should know that every effort is being taken to make the best use of their contributions for the goal they have passionately expressed.
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