The once-majestic Collins Ballroom will be converted to a board room to be used by County Commissioners, the County Planning Commission and the County Board of Adjustment, Sapulpa Times learned on Monday. The decision comes as the County decides what to do with the regal event space that has since had its usability severely limited by the State Fire Marshal.
For over seven decades, the grand room on the 2nd floor of the Collins Building has been a popular space for such events as dances, society soires, weddings, and high-school proms for over seven decades. However, an inspection by the State Fire Marshal in April of this year essentially ended the Ballroom’s use as an event center.
Originally certified to have a load capacity of 400 people, the Fire Marshal noted that there was only one exit from the room and concluded that the ballroom did not meet fire safety laws. As a result, the load capacity was reduced to just 49 people.
At one time there was a ladder leading to the second floor which had been used as a fire escape, but the Fire Marshall said it was unsafe to use during an emergency. It was deemed cost prohibitive to construct a second method of emergency egress, therefore the ballroom could no longer be used for large events. Sapulpa Main Street subsequently terminated its contract with the County.
Faced with the dilemma of a facility that once was frequently used to host large events that now could not safely hold over 49 people, The Creek County Board of Commissioners decided to repurpose the Ballroom. When asked what would happen if a meeting draws more than 49 people, Commissioner Newt Stephens said the meeting would be held at the Creek County Fairgrounds Building.
Stephens said plans for the new board room included electrical and IT connections for each member of the board since future documents may be signed electronically. He envisioned a projector and large screen for presentations, as well as large flat-panel monitors on each side of the dais. Stephens said the board has looked at various local government and board of education meeting rooms in the area to glean ideas for the new state-of-the-art meeting room.
The cost of the renovation has been tentatively estimated at $100,000. Stephens said the work would be done in-house and will be paid for by ARPA funds. The board is expected to vote on the project once the design has been finalized and there is a more precise estimate for the cost of this transformation.
No start or completion date was given. Andrew GoForth, Counsel for Creek County said the next step was to “define the scope of the project.”