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Oklahoma City: Recreation

Oklahoma City: Recreation

Sightseeing

Oklahoma City offers the visitor a full range of sights and activities. Frontier City Theme Park offers more than 50 acres of rides and western shows. The Oklahoma City Zoo, one of the top zoos in the nation, features more than 2,100 exotic species on 110 lushly-planted acres, including a children's zoo, and state-of-the-art primate and lion exhibits. The Oklahoma City Stockyards represents one of the largest cattle markets in the world. The State Capitol Building stands out as the only capitol with producing oil wells on the grounds, while Enterprise Square, U.S.A., explains America's free enterprise system and features a spacecraft landing. The Martin Park Nature Center offers self-guided trails, and its Garden Exhibition Building and Horticulture Gardens bloom with azaleas, roses, and orchids, and showcase collections of cacti and succulents. The Myriad Gardens features a unique 224-foot Crystal Bridge and a 17-acre outdoor park with a 1.5-acre sunken lake. Crystal Bridge, a seven-story enclosed botanical garden, displays an interesting array of more than 1,000 horticultural specimens from all over the world. The tropical atmosphere is enhanced by the roar of water cascading down a 35-foot waterfall. Kirkpatrick Planetarium at the Omniplex provides views of the heavens, and Celebration Station, a family amusement center, provides family fun.

Guided tours are offered at several attractions, including the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion, the Oklahoma State Capitol, and the Overholser Mansion, which was the first mansion in Oklahoma City.

For those who enjoy exploring on foot, Oklahoma City's Metro Concourse offers a unique way to see downtown. The concourse, an underground tunnel system connecting most of the downtown buildings, is lined with offices, restaurants, and shops. The renovated Bricktown historic site features shops, restaurants, and entertainment spots.

Arts and Culture

Oklahoma City provides year-around enjoyment for the visitor interested in arts and culture. In 2002, with the success of a $40 million Legacy Campaign that included a $14.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center opened. This 3-story, 110,000 square foot facility features 15 galleries, 3 education rooms, a library/resource center, a store, a cafe, and the 252-seat Noble Theatre. Since relocating to its new facility, the Museum hosts approximately 100,000 visitors annually and has tripled its membership and increased its staff from 8 people in 1994 to over 60 at present. The Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums for 28 years and houses an extensive permanent collection of European, Asian, and American art, featuring such artists as Pierre Auguste Renoir, Gustave Courbet, Maurice de Vlaminck, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Moran, Robert Henri, Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and Frank Stella. The Museum also owns the largest, most comprehensive collection of Chihuly glass in the world, including a 55 foot tall tower, commissioned for the atrium of the new facility in memory of Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick.

Civic Center Music Hall is home to the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs classical and pop music; a professional ballet company, Ballet Oklahoma, with an October through April season; and the Canterbury Choral Society, a 140-voice chorus that performs the major choral masterworks with full orchestral accompaniment during its 3-concert series. The Prairie Dance Theatre performs three times annually (in February, May, and November) and tours throughout the remainder of the year in nine states. Musical theater is performed by the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theatre, and the Oklahoma Opry.

A variety of works from contemporary playwrights is presented by the Carpenter Square Theatre, and African American productions are offered by the Black Liberated Arts Center. Oklahoma City's oldest community theater, the Jewel Box Theatre, offers performances from August through May.

Many other Oklahoma City area's museums and galleries display a wide variety of art and artifacts. The 1889 Harn Museum and William Fremont Harn Gardens commemorate the land run of 1889 with a restored homestead. Objects and equipment unique to Oklahoma's citizen soldiers from past to present are exhibited at the Forty-Fifth Infantry Division Museum. The history of Oklahoma from prehistoric times to the present is preserved at the State Museum of History.

The Omniplex, a cultural, educational, and recreational center with craft and zoological exhibits, maintains three art galleries featuring African, Native American, and Japanese art. The center also houses the Air Space Museum, which documents Oklahoma's contributions to aviation; the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, which displays photographic prints from around the world; and the Kirkpatric Science Museum, a blend of science exhibits, shows, and displays.

Art and cultural materials representing several Native American tribes are highlighted at the Red Earth Indian Center. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center showcases a collection of fine western art by Frederick Remington, Charles Russell, and others, and portraits of western television and movie stars; each June the museum hosts its annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition to showcase the work of the country's finest contemporary western artists. Approximately 300 works of art, by more than 100 artists, are featured in the exhibition. The history of softball is the focus of the National Softball Hall of Fame, which also includes a softball library and research center. Turn-of-the-century fire engines are displayed at the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum.

Festivals and Holidays

A variety of annual events are held in Oklahoma City, and horses are a prime attraction. Each January the International Finals Rodeo brings the top 15 cowboys and cowgirls in for the Professional Rodeo Association's season finale. The March Oklahoma Youth Expo has more than 5,000 animals for competition and auction. In April the OKC Centennial Horse Show at State Fair Park features Morgans, Arabians, National Show Horses, American Saddlebreds, and a Hack-ney/Harness division. Designated as one of the top outdoor festivals in the United States, the Oklahoma City Spring Festival of the Arts at Myriad Gardens and Festival Plaza displays works of art from across the nation in downtown Oklahoma City. In June, Red Earth at the Myriad Convention Center attracts thousands of Native Americans, who display their heritage and culture through artwork, crafts, and traditional and modern dancing. Aerospace America, held each June at Will Rogers Airport, features a mix of aerobatic acts, military aircraft, and displays. Held during mid-September, the State Fair of Oklahoma is one of the largest in the country. Festivities vary from celebrity shows and carnival activities to livestock, arts and crafts, and home economics exhibits. Also in September, Septemberfest at the Governor's Mansion is a celebration of Oklahoma's heritage. The November World Championship Quarter Horse Show is the largest out-of-state visitor attraction held in Oklahoma City, with more than $1 million in prizes handed out over 15 days of competition. Opening Night in downtown Oklahoma City is an annual family New Year's Eve celebration with live country and rock music, magic shows, theater, and fireworks at midnight.

Sports for the Spectator

Oklahoma City is home to four professional sports teams. The Oklahoma RedHawks are a Triple A baseball farm team for the Texas Rangers who play their games at the Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark. Hockey action is the forte of the Oklahoma City Blazers, a Central Hockey League team, who play 35 home games per season before an average of 9,300 fans per game at the new Ford Center arena. The Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs, a professional arena football team, also play before packed crowds at the Ford Center. The University of Oklahoma Sooners is a member team of the Big Twelve football conference and compete in a wide variety of sports on campus in nearby Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners' football program is legendary and consistently ranks near the top of the NCAA's Division One.

Spectators enjoy auto racing at the Fairgrounds Speedway and parimutuel betting at Remington Park's $97 million racetrack. Oklahoma City is home to the Amateur Softball Association and the International Softball Federation, which govern the sport, maintain the National Softball Hall of Fame on 50th Street, and hold events such as the Women's College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Several national and international horse shows and competitions are held each year at State Fair Park, Lazy E Arena, and Heritage Place. The World Championship Quarter Horse Show is held in November at the State Fair Arena and the International Finals Rodeo takes place in January.

Sports for the Participant

Public recreation opportunities abound in and around Oklahoma City with its many municipal parks, swimming pools, picnic facilities, public and private golf courses, softball diamonds, soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, fitness trails, and recreation centers. The area's lakes offer boating, fishing, sailing, and water skiing. White Water, a 20-acre water park, provides a wave pool, rapids, and water slides. Lake Hefner is an excellent place for sailing and sailboat racing, and Bird watchers treasure its 17-mile shoreline for bird migrations that make this one of the best locations in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center has hosted the U.S. Olympic Festival and is open to the public for classes, state and community competitions, and major national competitions.

Shopping and Dining

Just a block east of the Myriad Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City is Bricktown, Oklahoma City's newest entertainment, shopping, and dining district. Oklahoma City has four major enclosed shopping malls, each anchored by major department stores. They are Crossroads Mall, Northpark Mall, Penn Square Mall, and Quail Springs Mall. Upscale shopping is the attraction at 50 Penn Place and the Nichols Hills Plaza on Western Avenue. Sportsmen throughout the region come to the massive new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World near the I-35 and I-40 Interchange. Choctaw Indian Trading Post features silver and turquoise jewelry, Indian paintings, Kachina dolls, rugs, and blankets. Shepler's Western Wear on W. Meridian is the world's largest western store and catalog, carrying a vast assortment of boots, jeans, shirts, and hats for the entire family, plus accessories and home decor. Fancy western wear can be found at Tener's Western Outfitters. The Spanish-style Paseo Artist District is the showcase for the works of Oklahoma artists and also features restaurants and shops. Shoppers can immerse themselves in western culture at Stockyards City, a National Register Historic District near downtown that features western shops, restaurants, art galleries, and crafters producing boots, spurs, hats, belt buckles the size of hubcaps, and other western gear.

Oklahoma City restaurants offer menus ranging from the city specialtyOklahoma-raised beefto French and Vietnamese cuisine. The specialty of the house at the city's oldest restaurant, Cattlemen's Café, is calves brains and eggs. Steaks and barbecue lead the way at Cimarron Steak House, Earl's Rib Palace, Murphy's Chop House, and Nikz high atop the United Founders Tower. Diners will also discover authentic Mexican food at Abuelo's, sushi at Sushi Neko, fine dining at the award-winning Mantel Wine Bar & Bistro, and Japanese fare Musashi's.

Visitor Information: Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, 189 W. Sheridan, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; telephone (405)297-8912; toll-free (800)225-5652; email okccvb@okccvb.org

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Oklahoma City: Economy

Oklahoma City: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Although in its early days oil dominated the economy, Oklahoma City today hosts a wide range of businesses and employers. Agriculture, energy, aviation, government, health care, manufacturing, and industry all play major roles in the city's economic well-being. Oklahoma City is the seat of government for the state of Oklahoma as well as Oklahoma County. There are also many regional federal agency offices located in the City. The government sector accounts for about 20 percent of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area non-agricultural employment. The health care industry is a major economic driver in the city. Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, which is the largest trainer of Air Traffic Controllers in the world, and Tinker Air Force Base are major drivers as well. As the largest industrial operation in Oklahoma, Tinker serves the U.S. Air Force as a repair depot and provides logistic services for the U.S. Air Force throughout the world. Tinker employs 26,000 military and civilian personnel with a combined annual payroll of more than $775 million. There is also a growing high technology sector in the Oklahoma City economy, with more than 400 companies employing 30,000 in the fields of high technology, information technology, and software development.

As one of the nation's largest processing centers for a variety of farm products, the city is home to the world's largest stocker and feeder cattle market. Horses are also big business in Oklahoma City, stretching back to the region's days as a key cattle center and gateway to westward expansion. The city is known as the Horse Show Capital of the World for the nine major national and international horse shows held annually. Many large oil and energy-related companies have headquarters or major branches in the city. Other present and projected future growth industries include fabricated metal, computers, clothing, oil-field equipment, crude oil, back office, distribution and food processing.

Items and goods produced: motor vehicles, food products, steel, electronic devices, computers, oil-well supplies, paper products, rubber tires

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Division provides full-service expansion and/or new business services. The Oklahoma City's Development Center offers one-stop shopping for permits, inspections, and building guidelines. The mission of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center is to provide high quality one-to-one business counseling, economic development assistance, and training to small businesses and prospective small businesses. Many zones and neighborhoods of Oklahoma City have been designated as Federal Empowerment Zones that offer incentives to businesses looking to start-up or relocate. Incentives include tax credits of up to $3,000 for each employee newly hired or already on the payroll who lives and works in the zone; tax-exempt facility bonds to finance property, equipment and site development; and increased expense deductions of up to $35,000 for depreciable assets acquired during the first year.

State programs

The innovative Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program is a method to allow businesses that are creating large numbers of new quality jobs to receive a special incentive to locate or expand in Oklahoma. It is an easy-access program that provides direct payment incentives (based on new wages paid) to companies for up to ten years. The Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit Package provides growing manufacturers a significant tax credit based on either an investment in depreciable property or on the addition of full-time-equivalent employees engaged in manufacturing, processing, or aircraft maintenance. Other key Oklahoma incentives include a five-year ad valorem tax exemption, sales tax exemptions, freeport exemption, foreign trade zones, financing programs, export assistance, government contracting assistance, and limited industrial access road assistance. With reference to industrial financing programs, Oklahoma has simplified the laws governing businesses incorporated in the state. Oklahoma's new company legislation, based on the Delaware model, simplifies the procedures for incorporating businesses in the state and gives boards of directors more authority and flexibility in determining capital structures of companies.

Job training programs

The city's Office of Workforce Development administers the federal Workforce Investment Act program. Services include skills assessment, basic skills and GED instruction, career planning and counseling, tuition assistance, and job search assistance. Workforce Oklahoma, also created under the federal Workforce Investment Act, is a new training and education development system that partners business leaders, educators, and employment professionals to achieve job growth, employee productivity, and employer satisfaction. This system includes a network of 52 statewide offices called Workforce Oklahoma Centers, where employment, education, and training providers integrate a wide range of services that benefit both employers and employees. Customized industrial training programs, at no cost to the employer, are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Vocational and Technical Education.

Known nationwide for its excellence, Oklahoma's Career and Technology Education system provides customized employer training and gives Oklahomans of all ages the opportunity to learn advanced technical skills they can put to use in the workforce. The centerpiece of the effort is the Training for Industry Program or TIP, which is offered free to new and expanding companies. Career Tech works closely with the business to develop a program that meets the company's needs and prepares their new workforce for success. To date, TIP has served over 1,700 companies including Boeing, MCI WorldCom, American Airlines, Goodyear, General Motors, Whirlpool, America Online, Southwest Airlines, Lucent Technologies, Mutual of Omaha, Bama Foods, Best Buy, Armstrong and Xerox.

Development Projects

Several cultural, educational, tourist, and sports-related Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), from investments totaling more than a quarter billion dollars, were approved and built in Oklahoma City in the late 1990s and early in the new century. New projects included the 20,000-seat Ford Center arena, the aforementioned ballpark and riverwalk in Bricktown, and a vintage-style trolley system that makes getting around the downtown area much easier. MAPS also included extensive renovations to the Myriad Convention Center, State Fair Park, and the Civic Center. The $30 million Oklahoma City National Memorial and Memorial Museum, a 30,000 square foot memorial park, museum, and anti-terrorism institute, was dedicated on April 19, 2000, five years to the day after a terrorist bombing claimed the lives of 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building downtown.

Development has been brisk in Oklahoma City in the beginning of the 21st century. The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust was approved by voters in 2002 to earmark $470 million for a massive, 100 project, 10-year effort to make Oklahoma City schools a national model for urban education reform. In 2004 the city rezoned property at the northern tip of Lake Stanley Draper for a proposed commercial and recreational development project that would include a 36-hole golf course, retail stores, and RV and camping grounds. The Civic Center Music Hall was recently renovated into a modern performance center for the Downtown Arts District; nearby stands the new Oklahoma City Museum of Art, featuring Dale Chihuly's 55-foot glass sculpture, as well as the new Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library. The Bricktown riverwalk area features shops and restaurants in turn-of-the-century industrial buildings; a new Bass Pro Shop and 16-screen theater add to the district's entertainment scene. Towering over Bricktown is the SBC Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma RedHawks Triple A baseball team. Work continues on a Bricktown East canal, where 45 larger-than-life statues will depict those settlers who made the April 22, 1889 Oklahoma Land Run.

Economic Development Information: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, 123 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; telephone (405)297-8900; fax (405)297-8916. Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Office of Business Location Division, PO Box 26980, Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0980; telephone (405)815-6552

Commercial Shipping

Freight such as grain, minerals, and steel products are shipped at low cost via the McClellan Kerr River Navigation System, which offers access to the Mississippi River. The Port of Catoosa is only 140 miles from Oklahoma City. Many area motor freight carriers, two major railroads offering Class I and Class III service by 20 rail operators, and five nearby airports serve the region's shipping needs. Trucking is made convenient by the city's central location at Interstate Highways I-35, I-40, and I-44.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Oklahoma City boasts a productive labor force with a strong work ethic. Absenteeism, work stoppages, and turnover levels are below average. Present and future growth areas include, among others, such diverse fields as aircraft, fabricated metal, computers, clothing, oil-field equipment and crude oil, back office, distribution, and food processing. A growing high-technology sector now employs more than 30,000 in Oklahoma City; key high-tech firms include Lucent Technologies with more than 4,800 employees and Dell Inc., which broke ground in late 2004 on a 120,000 square-foot facility that will employ more than 700 people in a new customer contact center.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Oklahoma City metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 531,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 6,900

construction: 22,200

manufacturing: 38,000

trade, transportation and utilities: 96,500

information: 13,400

financial activities: 34,400

professional and business services: 65,900

educational and health services: 66,600

leisure and hospitality: 52,200

other services: 27,800

government: 107,800

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.24

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (December 2004)

Largest employers Number of employees
State of Oklahoma 38,100
Tinker Air Force Base 26,000
U.S. Postal Service 8,706
University of Oklahoma 7,902
Oklahoma City Public Schools 5,900
US FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center 5,600
City of Oklahoma City 5,320
INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center 4,102
General Motors Corp. 3,400

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Oklahoma City area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $209,232

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 91.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 0.5% to 6.75%

State sales tax rate: 4.5%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 3.875%

Property tax rate: Varies due to city limits that extend into different counties and school districts; for example, the rate in school district #89 is $57.84 (2004)

Economic Information: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, 123 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; telephone (405)297-8900; fax (405)297-8916

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Oklahoma City: History

Oklahoma City: History

Land Run Leads to City's Founding

Inhabited by Plains tribes and sold to the United States by France as a part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, much of what is now Oklahoma was subsequently designated as Indian Territory. As such, it was intended to provide a new home for tribes forced by the federal government to abandon their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States. Many of those forced to relocate in the 1830s were from what were called the Five Civilized TribesCherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminolewho soon set up independent nations in the new territory. After the Civil War, however, the pressure of westward expansion brought railroads into the Indian Territory, where the U.S. government began to declare some land available for white settlement. Prairie land surrounding a Santa Fe railroad single-track boxcar station was designated as a townsite when presidential proclamation opened the central portion of Indian Territory to claims stakers on noon of April 22, 1889. Thousands crossed the borders of the "unassigned lands" at high noon when a cannon was fired. By sunset of that day the land run had produced a tent city of 10,000 people on the townsite, which eventually became Oklahoma City.

The settlement attained official status in 1890, just a few weeks after the western half of Indian Territory was redesignated Oklahoma Territory, named for a Choctaw phrase meaning "red man." Incorporated as Oklahoma City on May 23, 1890, Oklahoma City swiftly became one of the new territory's largest cities. More railroad connections to the city helped make it a center for trade, milling, and meat packing. The Oklahoma and Indian territories merged and were admitted to the union as the state of Oklahoma in 1907. Oklahoma City became the state capital in 1910.

Oil Brings Prosperity

The capital city was flourishing as a financial and manufacturing center when in 1928 an oil field beneath the city proved to be what was then the largest oil strike ever made. Oklahoma City joined neighboring regions in the petroleum industry with vast economic benefits. A gigantic deposit at the Mary Sudik well in Oklahoma City gushed wildly for 11 days in 1930, spewing 10,000 barrels of oil each day in a great geyser and spreading an oily cloud that deposited petroleum as far away as 15 miles. By the time it was closed down, the Mary Sudik well had produced a total of one million barrels of oil.

Future Points Toward Diversity

The end of the oil boom dealt the city a severe blow. During its height in the early 1980s, developers added 5.2 million square feet of office space downtown. When the boom went bust, so did the real estate market. By the 1990s, downtown Oklahoma City was in a decline, with few shopping areas and too much empty office space. While the petroleum industry continues to be a solid part of Oklahoma City's economy in the early 21st century, the region has also been involved in the development of the state's other natural resources, such as coal and metals. In addition, the city supports such industries as livestock, agriculture, energy, aviation, and manufacturing.

Oklahoma City made international headlines on April 19, 1995, when a Ryder truck fitted with a homemade oil-and-fertilizer bomb exploded in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 men, women, and children, and injuring more than 400 others. In December 1996, the Wall Street Journal reported: "Twenty months after the bombing that vaulted it on to front pages around the world, this gutsy city is hoping a rapidly growing economy and a $300 million public-works program will revive one of the nation's sickest downtowns." Feelings of optimism were running high that a dramatic comeback for the city was in the works.

In April 2000 Oklahoma City unveiled its monument to the victims of the bombing. The main component of the memorial is 168 bronze-and-glass chairs, one for each victim, positioned in rows that correspond to the floors of the building where the victims were when the bomb exploded. It is a potent symbol in a city that still continues to grieve a tragedy even as it rebuilds and tries to modernize its image.

As the 21st century dawns, many of the city's efforts at revitalization and moving forward appear to be paying off. With up to $1 billion in new downtown investment, Oklahoma City was named one of the "Best Places to Live in North America" by Places Rated Almanac. The city continues an economic revitalization that has seen it move prominently into the areas of medicine, aviation, high technology, and diversified energy resources.

Historical Information: Oklahoma Historical Society, Historical Building, 2100 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73118; telephone (405)522-5209

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Oklahoma City: Education and Research

Oklahoma City: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Oklahoma City Public Schools is the second largest public school district in the state. The district offers specialty programs at all grade levels, including Spanish language immersion programs, international studies, performing arts, media/communications and even a Montessori-based education program. A 2001 MAPS for Kids program, in conjunction with the citizens of Oklahoma City and the public school system, was created to help revitalize the school system. This program called for building seven new schools and revitalization work in 65 others, at a cost of more than $500 million. The metropolitan area includes more than 20 other school districts.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Oklahoma City public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 40,703

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 59

middle schools: 8

senior high schools: 9

other: 9 charter and 6 alternative schools

Student/teacher ratio: 16.2:1

Teacher salaries

average: $29,810

Funding per pupil: $6,541

Many private and parochial elementary schools and two parochial high schools also serve students in the Oklahoma City area, including the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics for gifted high school students.

Public Schools Information: Oklahoma City Public Schools, 900 North Klein, PO Box 25428, Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0428; telephone (405)297-6522

Colleges and Universities

Sixteen college and university campuses and two community colleges, with a combined enrollment of more than 100,000 students, are located in the greater Oklahoma City area. The largest institution is the University of Oklahoma, which enrolls about 24,800 students in the main school, the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, and the College of Law. The University ranked among the nation's top 10 percent in the Fiske Guide to Colleges and is the nation's number one school for national merit scholars, as well as the top 5 for graduation of Rhodes scholars. Other institutions of higher education include Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, University of Central Oklahoma, Rose State College, Oklahoma City Community College, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma County has 17 area libraries that serve the community needs of more than 600,000 people living in Oklahoma City or Oklahoma County. Its more than 1,000,000 volumes include books, newspapers, magazines, microfilms, video collections, and books on tape. In 2003 the city opened a new central library, the 108,000 square foot Downtown Library and Learning Center, which is a state-of-the-art facility built with more than $24 million in MAPS taxes and library building funds. In addition to traditional library services, the Downtown Library also has a high-tech theater, classrooms, learning center, Oklahoma Literacy Council Services, on-site business assistance from the Small Business Development Center, and college classes through the Downtown College Consortium. Special collections include local history and local black history. A large collection of books on Native Americans, genealogy, and the history of Oklahoma is housed at the Oklahoma Historical Society Archives and Manuscripts Division. Libraries at city colleges and universities and at state offices also offer reference materials on a wide range of topics.

Much of the state's cutting-edge research is conducted at the nearby University of Oklahoma. The Sarkeys Energy Center is a 4-square-block, 7-acre, 340,000 square-foot teaching and energy research complex where faculty, students, and energy industry researchers can explore interdisciplinary energy issues, train future energy researchers and leaders, and enhance national energy security. The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is developing into a research institute of national importance, especially in the field of immunology. Research centers affiliated with academic institutions in Oklahoma City study state constitutional law and conduct business research and consulting.

Public Library Information: Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma County, 131 Dean A. McGee Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6499; telephone (405)231-8650

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Oklahoma City: Convention Facilities

Oklahoma City: Convention Facilities

A sunny climate, abundant hotel spacemore than 14,000 rooms in Oklahoma City and the metropolitan areaand a wide range of leisure, cultural, and recreational opportunities make Oklahoma City attractive to large and small groups of convention-goers.

The Cox Business Services Center, located in the city's business district, offers facilities for sports, banquets, concerts, exhibitions, trade shows, and stage performances. A recent $50 million renovation added 105,000 square feet of exhibit space, nearly doubling the old square footage. High ceilings and wide expanses of glass overlooking the downtown landscape evoke the open feel of the Oklahoma prairie. Meeting, exhibit, and entertainment areas totaling 1 million square feet include the Exhibit Hall, the Great Hall for banquets and ballroom dancing, and the Arena, which can seat up to 16,000 people. The arena houses an ice rink, basketball floor, and a portable indoor track. The Renaissance, a $32 million, 15-story, 311-room luxury hotel is connected to the center via skywalk, and a climate-controlled walkway also connects to the nearby Westin Hotel. Four blocks from the Cox Center is the Civic Center Music Hall (which underwent a $52 million renovation in 2001) with facilities for concerts, lectures, meetings, conventions, and stage shows. It can seat up to 3,200 people.

Funded by a one percent sales tax increase, the sleek new Ford Center arena opened in 2002 with seating for 20,000 and facilities to accommodate professional sporting events and national touring concerts. A premier project of MAPS, Oklahoma City's unique capital improvement program to upgrade the city's convention and municipal facilities, the Ford Center has 49 private suites and is home to professional hockey and arena football franchises.

The Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, with over a million square feet, also offers a 12,500-seat arena, a racetrack, and a baseball stadium. Among the city's other convention facilities are Frontier City, with its themed indoor banquet facilities that seat 5 to 1,000 people, and the popular Wagon Wheel Picnic Ranch, which can seat 25 to 5,000 people. Groups of up to 1,000 people can be accommodated at Metro Tech's Business Conference Center. Smaller and medium-sized groups can find meeting and event space at the Clarion Meridian Hotel and Convention Center or the Will Rogers Theater.

Convention Information: Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, 189 W. Sheridan, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; telephone (405)297-8912; toll-free (800)225-5652; email okccvb@okccvb.org

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Oklahoma City: Population Profile

Oklahoma City: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 861,000

1990: 958,839

2000: 1,083,346

Percent change, 19902000: 12.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 43rd

U.S. rank in 1990: 42nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 48th

City Residents

1980: 404,014

1990: 444,724

2000: 506,132

2003 estimate: 523,303

Percent change, 19802000: 13.8%%

U.S. rank in 1980: 31st

U.S. rank in 1990: 29th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 36th

Density: 833.8 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 346,226

Black or African American: 77,810

American Indian and Alaska Native: 17,743

Asian: 17,595

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 360

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 51,368

Other: 31,382

Percent of residents born in state: 60.6% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 37,194

Population 5 to 9 years old: 35,486

Population 10 to 14 years old: 34,759

Population 15 to 19 years old: 36,501

Population 20 to 24 years old: 39,703

Population 25 to 34 years old: 76,444

Population 35 to 44 years old: 79,344

Population 45 to 54 years old: 66,659

Population 55 to 59 years old: 23,420

Population 60 to 64 years old: 18,524

Population 65 to 74 years old: 30,874

Population 75 to 84 years old: 20,292

Population 85 years and older: 6,932

Median age: 34.0 years

Births (2002; Oklahoma County)

Total number: 11,464

Deaths (2002; Oklahoma County)

Total number: 6,421

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,098

Median household income: $34,947

Number of households: 204,493

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 23,882

$10,000 to $14,999: 15,699

$15,000 to $24,999: 32,485

$25,000 to $34,999: 30,306

$35,000 to $49,999: 34,729

$50,000 to $74,999: 35,424

$75,000 to $99,999: 15,965

$100,000 to $149,999: 10,614

$150,000 to $199,999: 2,341

$200,000 or more: 3,048

Percent of families below poverty level: 12.4% (54.4% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 49,929

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Oklahoma City: Communications

Oklahoma City: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Oklahoma City has one morning daily newspaper, the Oklahoman, and one business newspaper, The Journal Record. More than a dozen weekly, semiweekly, and bimonthly newspapers are published there, including The Black Chronicle and Capital Hill Beacon, and The Sooner Catholic. Among the more than two dozen magazines and journals published in Oklahoma City are the lifestyle magazine Oklahoma Living Magazine ; Oklahoma Today Magazine, focusing on travel, nature, recreation, and American Indian and New West issues; and others focusing on livestock, pharmacy, retailing, and trades.

Television and Radio

Oklahoma City has ten television stations: one commercial station broadcasting religious programming, two independents, three PBS stations, and four stations affiliated with the major networks. Stations also broadcast from nearby towns and cable television is available throughout the metropolitan area. In addition, Oklahoma City radio provides listeners with a choice of 13 AM and 20 FM stations.

Media Information: Oklahoman, PO Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73114; telephone (405)475-3311

Oklahoma City Online

City of Oklahoma City Home Page. Available www.okc.gov

Metropolitan Library System. Available www.mls.lib.ok.us

Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. Available www.okcchamber.com

Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.okccvb.org

Oklahoma City Public Schools. Available www.okcps.k12.ok.us

Oklahoma Community Links. Available www.state.ok.us/osfdocs/county.html

Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Available www.kcommerce.com

Oklahoman. Available www.oklahoman.com

Tinker Air Force Base (unofficial site). Available wwwext.tinker.af.mil/default.asp

Selected Bibliography

Knight, Marsha (compiler), Forever Changed: Remembering Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995 (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998)

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Oklahoma City: Transportation

Oklahoma City: Transportation

Approaching the City

Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport, just 10 miles northwest of the city, is served by 12 commercial carriers that carry more than 3.2 million passengers a year. As of 2005 construction was underway on a five-year expansion project totaling more than $100 million and expected to add 9 new gates, bigger ticketing and lobby areas, and better traffic flow to handle capacity requirements into 2012 and beyond. Located near the center of the United States, Oklahoma City is connected to the east and west coasts and north and south borders of the nation by interstate highways I-40, I-35, I-44, and I-240. Numerous state highways and a turn-pike system provide easy access to any location in the metropolitan area. Amtrak provides train service, and Greyhound/Trailways Bus Lines schedules buses into and out of the city.

Traveling in the City

Streets in downtown Oklahoma City are generally laid out in an east-west, north-south grid pattern, with numbered streets running east-west. Taxis and buses are available for transportation to all parts of the city. The extensive bus system was upgraded in 2004 with the addition of the new $6.2 million METRO Transit Downtown Transit Center, an air-conditioned transfer center. As part of the city's downtown revitalization efforts, the Oklahoma Spirit trolley system now takes visitors around Bricktown and downtown for just a quarter. In warm weather, Pedicabs and horse-drawn carriages ferry customers all over Bricktown. A mile-long pedestrian canal through Bricktown turns south at the new ballpark, then heads under the highway to a waterfall-and-forested park area. Water taxis carry visitors to canal-side restaurants.

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Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY

OKLAHOMA CITY, capital of the state of Oklahoma, achieved national prominence after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on 19 April 1995 by American terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, resulting in the deaths of 168 people and injuring more than 500. A national memorial now stands at the site of the tragedy. Before this event, the city's history rested upon its Western and Native American heritage and its instant creation when ten thousand settlers established a town on the site following the 22 April 1889 land run. By 1910, local business leaders forced the transfer of the state capital from its previous location in Guthrie to Oklahoma City. The 1928 discovery of petroleum in the area spurred the city's growth. In politics, early domination by the Democrats changed to a Republican majority in the 1970s. Politics, business, and oil directed the boom-and-bust economy until the 1990s, when the city embarked on an ambitious urban revitalization plan known as MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) to establish the city as a diversified regional cultural, residential, educational, service, and manufacturing center. The population increased 14 percent between the 1990 and 2000 censuses to 506,000. In 2000, the city's population was 68 percent white, 15 percent African American, 3.5 percent Native American, and 10 percent Hispanic (a minority doubling in size since 1990). Oklahoma City identifies itself with the heartland of the nation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Faulk, Odie B. Oklahoma City: A Centennial Portrait. Northridge, Calif.: Windsor Publications, 1988.

LindaReese

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Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City: Introduction
Oklahoma City: Geography and Climate
Oklahoma City: History
Oklahoma City: Population Profile
Oklahoma City: Municipal Government
Oklahoma City: Economy
Oklahoma City: Education and Research
Oklahoma City: Health Care
Oklahoma City: Recreation
Oklahoma City: Convention Facilities
Oklahoma City: Transportation
Oklahoma City: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1889 (incorporated 1890)

Head Official: Mayor Mick Cornett (since 2004)

City Population

1980: 404,014

1990: 444,724

2000: 506,132

2003 estimate: 523,303

Percent change, 19902000: 13.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: 31st

U.S. rank in 1990: 29th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 36th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 861,000

1990: 959,000

2000: 1,083,346

Percent change, 19902000: 12.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 43rd

U.S. rank in 1990: 42nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 48th

Area: 606.99 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,291 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 60.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 32.03 inches of rain, 9.0 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: energy, aviation, services, trade, government, manufacturing

Unemployment rate: 3.7 % (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $19,098 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 49,929

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Oklahoma,University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

Daily Newspaper: Oklahoman

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Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City (1990 pop. 444,719), state capital, and seat of Oklahoma co., central Okla., on the North Canadian River; inc. 1890. The state's largest city, it is an important livestock market, a wholesale, distribution, industrial, and financial center, and a farm trade and processing point. Oil is a major product; the city is situated in the middle of an oil field (opened 1928), with oil derricks even on the capitol grounds, and the city's fortunes remain tied to the oil and gas industry. The city has diversified light and heavy industries, and the nearby Tinker Air Force Base, a logistics center with one of the world's largest air depots, is also an important source of civilian employment.

One of the largest U.S. cities in area (650 sq mi/1,683 sq km), the city extends into three neighboring counties of Oklahoma co. and has many parks. Of interest are the capitol, the state historical museum, the city art museum, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the civic center buildings and monuments, a theater complex, a convention center, the state library, and a zoo. Educational institutions include the Univ. of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City Univ., and Oklahoma Christian Univ. The city also has a symphony orchestra and a professional basketball team (the Thunder).

Oklahoma City was quickly settled in a land rush after the area was opened to homesteaders on Apr. 22, 1889. It became the state capital in 1910. In 1995 a terrorist bomb destroyed a downtown federal office building, killing 168 people; the site is now a national memorial (see National Parks and Monuments (table)).

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Oklahoma City: Health Care

Oklahoma City: Health Care

With 20 general medical and surgical hospitals, four specialized hospitals, and two federal medical installations with a combined total of more than 5,000 beds in the area, Oklahoma City has become a leading health referral center in the Southwest. The state-owned OU Medical Center and The Children's Hospital of OU Medical Center merged with Oklahoma City-based, for-profit Presbyterian Hospital in a private-public partnership called University Health Partners in 1998 to form the largest medical care and research center in Oklahoma. In 2003 the hospital's governing board announced plans for a $180 million expansion and renovation project that will update all current facilities while providing the Children's Hospital with its own separate entrance and facilities to make navigation easier on pediatric patients and their families. Other facilities include the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center, Deaconess Hospital, the Bone and Joint Hospital, Mercy Health Center, and St. Anthony Hospital.

Health Care Information: Oklahoma State Department of HealthInformation and Referral Healthline, 1100 N.E. 10th Street, Box 53551, Oklahoma City, OK 73152; telephone (405)271-5600

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Oklahoma City: Geography and Climate

Oklahoma City: Geography and Climate

Surrounded by gently rolling prairie and plains along the North Canadian River, Oklahoma City is at the geographic center of the state. With a climate influenced by the Great Plains region, Oklahoma City is one of the sunniest, windiest cities in the country. Summers are long and hot; winters, short and mild. Tornadoes are not uncommon; in May 1999 central Oklahoma was hit by the most devastating tornadoes in its history, a series of twisters that flattened entire neighborhoods in the city and caused $40 million in damage in central Oklahoma.

Area: 606.99 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,291 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 45.9° F; July, 80.7° F; annual average, 60.1° F.

Average Annual Precipitation: 32.03 inches of rain; 9.0 inches of snow

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Oklahoma City: Introduction

Oklahoma City: Introduction

From its birth at high noon on April 22, 1889, Oklahoma City, the state capital of Oklahoma, has grown to become one of the nation's largest cities in terms of area. A low unemployment rate, continuing steady economic expansion, and a prime Sun Belt location are attractive to new businesses. Its sunny climate, educational and job opportunities, numerous cultural assets, and recreational attractions entice new residents. After experiencing economic difficulties with the 1980s oil slump and enduring one of the nation's worst terrorist attacks with the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing, Oklahoma City continues a vigorous rebound with a growing population and increasingly diversified economy.

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Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Capital and largest city of Oklahoma, USA, in the centre of the state on the North Canadian River. The area was settled in 1889. The city was made the state capital in 1910, and prospered with the discovery of rich oil deposits in 1928. It was the site of a terrorist bomb in April 1995, which killed 168 people and injured 400 others. Industries: oil refining, grain milling, cotton processing, steel products, electronic equipment, aircraft. Pop. (2000) 506,132.

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Oklahoma City: Municipal Government

Oklahoma City: Municipal Government

Oklahoma City has a city manager-council form of government. Its mayor and eight councilmen are elected to staggered four-year terms.

Head Official: Mayor Mick Cornett (since 2004; current term expires 2008)

Total Number of City Employees: 4,320 (2005)

City Information: Oklahoma City Hall, 200 N. Walker Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102; telephone (405)297-2345

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