November 2017 Around Town 1

Oklahoma City Hires New Fire Chief

City Manager Jim Couch announced the selection of Richard A. Kelley as Oklahoma City’s next fire chief.

Chief Kelley, currently the deputy chief of operations, succeeds former Fire Chief Keith Bryant, who recently became the U.S. fire administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Chief Kelley spent a year with the Will Rogers World Airport Fire Department before joining the city’s fire department 26 years ago.

He has spent much of his career focusing on rescue programs and special operations, building the city’s Urban Search and Rescue program in 2004. He’s fought countless fires over the course of his career and has been involved with tornado response, swift-water rescues and various other emergencies.

“I’ve been truly blessed to earn this opportunity, and I’m excited for the challenge and to continue working with my friends and colleagues in the fire department,” Kelley says. “I’m fortunate to work in a community that understands the value of public safety services. Leading the fire department is an honor that I accept with humility and enthusiasm.”

Chief Kelley will oversee 990 positions in the department (958 uniform and 32 civilian positions) in three divisions: operational services, fire prevention services and support services.

Kelley is a graduate of Moore High School and has an associate’s degree from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) in municipal fire protection. He completed the Oklahoma Executive Fire Officer Leadership Program in 2015 and is currently attending OSU-OKC to earn a bachelor’s degree in emergency responder administration.

Along with his wife, Elizabeth, Kelley’s household includes daughters Mikayla, Johnna and Addison, and step-children Emily and Nick.

Ribbon Cut on New Municipal 
Court Building

Mayor Mick Cornett and other city leaders cut the ribbon on the new Municipal Court building, unveiling a more modern building that makes it more convenient for residents to conduct court business.

The new court building, 701 Couch Drive, is on the northwest corner of the historic Civic Center district on the opposite side of the new Police Department headquarters, which opened last year. The old police headquarters and court building are in between the new buildings, and will eventually be transformed into a parking plaza.

The new court building’s design allows residents to use the customer service windows without first going through a security screening, unlike the old building. The 65,000-square-foot building is almost twice the size of the old one and combines traditional design influences with modern and efficient features.

Up to 140,000 hearings are heard every year in the Municipal Court, which has six courtrooms finished with decorative wood and natural stone. A monumental staircase and granite benches greet visitors in the lobby and atrium, which takes advantage of natural light.

The $22.8 million building was designed by ADG and built 
by CMSWillowbrook.

21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City Finalist in Surface Magazine 
Travel Awards

Among the year’s best spaces, products and innovators in the worlds of travel and design, 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City has been named as a finalist in the inaugural Surface Travel Awards.

The Surface Travel Awards is a tribute to the best and most thoughtfully conceived spaces and products, as well as architects, designers and innovators who inspire, empower and connect travelers. Among seven esteemed hotels ranging in location from London to New York, 21c Oklahoma City is a finalist in the large hotel category.

Originally built in 1916 as a Ford Motor Company assembly plant, the design of 21c Oklahoma City was led by New York-based architects Deborah Berke Partners, who sought to create a contemporary interpretation of the building’s industrial heritage. Deborah Berke Partners has also been named as a finalist in the travel designer of the year category.

21c Oklahoma City was highlighted in Surface magazine shortly after opening last year, declaring, “[21c] is fast becoming one of the most important ambassadors of contemporary art, in terms of scope and reach, in what many New Yorkers and Angelinos deride as ‘flyover country.’”

Producing authoritative and thought-provoking editorial content on architecture, art, design, fashion and culture, Surface offers a clean aesthetic and incisive writing with an emphasis on process and craftsmanship and a compass for today’s creative leaders and a barometer for what’s new and what’s next.

This nomination comes on the heels of recent national recognition for 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City. The property was selected by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2017 World’s Best Awards, claiming the 75th spot in the Top 100 Hotels in the World category and the third spot in the Top 15 City Hotels in the Continental United States category. 21c Oklahoma City was also named to Travel + Leisure’s 2017 It List as one of the Best New Hotels in the World.