One Year after Earthquake, St. Greg's Announces Renovation Plans. St. Gregory's University has revealed renovation plans for earthquake-damaged Benedictine Hall. In a ceremony that took place Nov. 3 as part of the university's Homecoming celebration, St. Gregory's President Greg Main announced the school has secured the $4.7 million needed for the first phase of Benedictine Hall's centennial restoration and expects the project to begin around the first of the year.
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More than 3,200 benefactors provided $2.6 million for the restoration. The balance of the funds will come from state and federal tax credits due to Benedictine Hall's status as a National Historic Landmark and the university's intention to restore the building's historic character.
"Benedictine Hall will be 100 years old in 2015," Main said. "We hope to have this project completed in time for its centennial celebration."
Located at 1900 W. MacArthur St., Shawnee, St. Gregory's is a Catholic university founded in 1875 by the Order of St. Benedict. It is home to a community of students, educators, and monks dedicated to lifelong learning and faith development. In addition to its campus in Shawnee, St. Gregory's has a campus in Tulsa.
State Superintendant Hitting the Street (School). Street School will serve more than 350 guests a free, Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 11:30am. Guests include students, their families, alumni, and members of the community who support Street School. The buffet line will be managed by several state leaders, including State Superintendent Janet Barresi.
Other confirmed servers who will assist Barresi in serving the meal include Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his wife Victoria, TPS Superintendent Keith Ballard and Okla. Senator Gary Stanislawski.
Street School is a tuition-free dropout prevention, intervention, and recovery program for students in grades 9 through 12 who live in the Tulsa Public Schools district. Services include high school education and therapeutic counseling. Street School has a certified drug and alcohol treatment program, in addition to helping students earn a high school diploma.
Come For The Show, Stay For The Arena. The short list of top arenas once again includes the BOK Center. Concert industry publication Pollstar announced the six finalists this month for its Arena of the Year honor.
Built with $178 million in public funds, construction costs ultimately totaled about $196 million for the BOK Center, according to widely published reports. The arena opened in 2008.
With such a large price tag, the project took a few hits from critics concerned about allocating such a large sum of public funds for an arena, no matter how well-designed.
However, compared to other arenas recognized by Pollstar's industry insiders, Tulsa may have had a bit of a bargain.
The BOK Center shares finalist status with the big arenas in Los Angeles and New York. Not surprisingly, those cost much more than the BOK Center. Madison Square Garden, in New York, cost $123 million when it was built in the 1960s, according to Sports Facility Reports, a publication of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University. Adjusting for inflation, the cost comes out to a much higher price tag than the BOK Center, roughly more than $700 million in 2008 dollars.
According to the same publication, the Staples Center in Los Angeles cost $375 million and opened in 1999, while Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center cost $206 million and opened in 1996. The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, which opened in 2010, was built at an expense of $321 million.
The only arena on the list built for about the same amount as the BOK Center is what's now known as the Bridgestone Arena, which opened in Nashville, Tenn. in 1996 and was built at a cost of $144 million.
But for most of these arenas, public funds provided a much smaller fraction of construction costs than for the BOK Center. For example, the Consol Energy Center was built by Isle of Capri Casinos in a deal that gave the group rights to build a downtown casino -- so no public funds were used, according to Sports Facility Reports. Of the arenas on the list built after 1990, only the Bridgestone Arena and the BOK Center were built with public funds providing more than 20 percent of the financing, according to Sports Facility Reports.
This year marks the third year that the BOK Center has been nominated for Arena of the Year. Winners of the Pollstar awards, now in their 24th year, will be announced in February.
Kitchen Revolution. Roger Shollmier received a $30,000 check after being named the winner of the Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup.
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But the money wasn't the highlight for Shollmier, who for more than three decades has run the bricks-and-mortar business Kitchen Ideas in Tulsa.
"The $30,000 dollars was minute considering the amount of money I would have spent for the education I would have had to pay consultants. In fact TCC Cup know there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there ... that needed true direction. And that's what I got," Shollmier said.
His project, The Galley, LLC, focuses on a new-type of sink specially designed to have sliding tiers of cutting boards that can also make way for counter space or a specialty sheet in which a colander bowl or other cooking tools can fit. The goal is to make the sink the center of food prep and cooking in a way that provides maximum convenience.
More than 70 aspiring entrepreneurs entered the contest, sponsored by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. Two others also won cash prizes.
The team of 4D Sales -- Mike Ishmael, Brian Carpenter and Doug Tatum -- won $5,000 to help them develop their idea for an iPad application for sales professionals.
Paula Sloan earned $2,500 to help advance her idea, Cheerful Athletics. The business is based on a training device for cheerleaders emphasizing safety.
Nicole Burgin, a TCC spokeswoman, said previous winners remain hard at work on their ideas.
"Of the past five winners, they're all currently still in business," Burgin said.
Shollmier said that despite the competition's end, he has plans to continue meeting with mentors who helped guide him and other contestants.
His seven-foot sink design retails for $6,900, he said. It also comes in smaller versions which are less expensive.
Shollmier said staff with this business actually entered him into the competition, and he didn't even know much about it initially.
But now he has nothing but praise for the process.
"To have that opportunity that TCC Cup is doing for entrepreneurs in this town is frickin' incredible."
Russians Love Their Oil Too. Janet Levit, the University of Tulsa's law school dean, has shared some glowing remarks about a multi-national conference she led in Moscow recently.
In May, TU announced Levit's appointment by the U.S. Department of Energy to head the U.S.-Russia Energy Working Group. The goal is to study how energy law works in both countries, with experts from both countries to work together on reports and studies while publishing scholarly articles.
"While the goals of this group will certainly evolve over time, we walked away from our first gathering with an ambitious approach to beginning our efforts to drive effective change in both policy and education," Levit remarked in an email newsletter distributed by the law school. "The group will continue talking on a regular basis to explore new ideas and discuss progress and next steps. In addition, we will explore joint publications on various energy law topics."
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