OKC area con­gres­sional seat, four oth­ers to be de­cided on Tues­day

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - METRO | STATE - BY JUSTIN WINGERTER Staff Writer jwingerter@ok­la­homan.com

Kendra Horn’s up­hill run for Con­gress, which be­gan on a swel­ter­ing Fri­day night in July 2017, will end in de­feat or vic­tory Tues­day night at a watch party in north Ok­la­homa City.

Horn, in her first run for of­fice, has raised more money than Re­pub­li­can Rep. Steve Rus­sell and built an im­pres­sive net­work of vol­un­teers who call and can­vas the 5th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, which in­cludes most of Ok­la­homa County and Semi­nole and Pot­tawatomie Coun­ties.

But polls show her trail­ing the con­gress­man, a sopho­more in­cum­bent who rode strong evan­gel­i­cal sup­port to easy elec­tion wins in 2014 and 2016.

A Soon­erPoll sur­vey of 440 likely vot­ers last week found Rus­sell lead­ing with 49 per­cent of the vote to Horn’s 37 per­cent and an­other 14 per­cent un­de­cided. An ear­lier Soon­erPoll and Rus­sell’s in­ter­nal polls have shown

With Tues­day’s ac­tion, nearly $1.3 mil­lion in ad­di­tions will have been made since work be­gan in June, but the con­struc­tion con­tract with Flintco LLC will have in­creased by only $43,400.

And the new con­tract price of $168.2 mil­lion will re­main $5 mil­lion un­der the orig­i­nal bid. Here’s why:

• The city coun­cil OK’d a deal to have Ve­o­lia En­ergy’s down­town util­ity plant pro­vide heat and air con­di­tion­ing, elim­i­nat­ing the need to in­stall $5.1 mil­lion worth of equip­ment. The an­nual heat­ing and cool­ing bill is ex­pected to be $797,000.

• Omni Ho­tels and Re­sorts, de­vel­oper of the con­ven­tion cen­ter com­plex’s lux­ury head­quar­ters ho­tel, ex­er­cised its op­tion to drop the SW 4 Street sky­way be­tween the ho­tel and con­ven­tion cen­ter. Sav­ings on the con­ven­tion cen­ter con­struc­tion con­tract amount to $1.2 mil­lion.

Ar­chi­tects said they ex­pected struc­tural steel to be­gin ris­ing on the con­struc­tion site in the 500 block of S Robin­son Av­enue in Novem­ber.

Early work fo­cused on grad­ing, truck­ing in fill dirt of a qual­ity suf­fi­cient to sup­port the foun­da­tion, drilling foun­da­tion piers and pour­ing con­crete, and in­stalling in­ground util­i­ties.

Bud­geted at $293 mil­lion, the con­ven­tion cen­ter could be com­pleted for $20 mil­lion less than that — thanks to the fa­vor­able con­struc­tion bid.

Tues­day’s vote is for more piers, con­crete and re­bar to sup­port ad­di­tion of a ser­vice el­e­va­tor and en­clo­sure of the 550,000-square-foot build­ing’s load­ing dock.

Adding the el­e­va­tor is ex­pected to pro­vide flex­i­bil­ity and could serve fu­ture ex­pan­sion needs.

En­clos­ing the load­ing dock would be a buf­fer against weather and an en­ergy-saver.

MAPS 3 Pro­gram Man­ager David Todd said en­clos­ing the load­ing dock may wait un­til the dock, on the back side of the 200,000-square-foot ex­hibit hall, is ex­tended as the build­ing is ex­panded.

The el­e­va­tor will be in­stalled as con­struc­tion moves ahead, at a to­tal cost of about $2 mil­lion.

Be­sides the ex­hibit hall — big­ger than three foot­ball fields and cov­er­ing close to 5 acres — the con­ven­tion cen­ter will have 45,000 square feet of meet­ing rooms.

The ho­tel across the street will have an ad­di­tional 78,000 square feet for meet­ings.

The con­ven­tion cen­ter is to open in 2020.

MAPS 3 projects are fi­nanced by the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax ap­proved by vot­ers in De­cem­ber 2009.

MAPS 3 projects open debt-free, an ad­van­tage over tra­di­tion­ally fi­nanced pub­lic works projects where fi­nanc­ing re­quires re­pay­ment with in­ter­est.

PRO­VIDED BY POP­U­LOUS/GSB/CITY OF OK­LA­HOMA CITY]

Work on a stair­well gives an idea of the scale of the MAPS 3 con­ven­tion cen­ter, the city’s largest-ever build­ing project.[PHO­TOS

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