One day in the late 1990s a co-worker came into the office shaking his head in disgust.
He had just returned from a tour of Enterprise Square USA on the Oklahoma Christian University campus and was shocked at what he saw: Technology that was dated by a decade and tour guides who were embarrassed to take him through.
State-of-the-art when it debuted in 1982, Enterprise Square couldn’t keep up with the times. With technology getting faster and more compact with each passing year, the folks who managed the interactive economic education museum obviously couldn’t afford to update their technology.
So, in 2000 Enterprise Square was shut down to public tours after more than 600,000 school children and countless celebrities had walked its halls. It has remained close for almost seven years, despite a pledge by operators to renovate and reopen.
Finally, it appears that Enterprise Square will gain new life, although not exactly the same one it had two decades ago.
OC officials plan a $6 million renovation that will add classrooms, offices, art galleries, an auditorium, a coffee shop and deli and many other features to the building. Enterprise Square will gain a new west entrance, more windows and a giant sun roof that will splash natural light throughout the building. (The rendering above is an artist’s conception of how it will appear to visitors.)
It will still be open to the public and to school children, said Nathan Mellor, executive director of OC’s Academy of Leadership & Liberty, which is housed in Enterprise Square.
The museum left lasting impressions for thousands — both good and not-so-good as it aged, Mellor said.
“I would love for people, if they would, to take the time to tell us their stories,” Mellor said. “I don’t meet anybody in Oklahoma who doesn’t have an Enterprise Square story. Now some of those stories make us cringe, but we still want to hear them.
“But those especially who saw it when it was new and got to see it when the paint was fresh and really appreciated what we were doing… I believe in all my heart it was a noble intent.”
So, do you have an Enterprise Square story to share? E-mail me, and I will pass them on to Mellor and others at OC who will shepherd the renovation.
Business news reporter