Mark Price Arena

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Mark Price Arena
Convention Hall
Location Enid, Oklahoma, United States
Owner City of Enid, Oklahoma
Capacity 2,500

The Mark Price Arena was a 2,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Enid, Oklahoma located in Convention Hall, named after basketball player Mark Price who played for Georgia Tech and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Outdoor view of Convention Hall, home of the Mark Price Arena.

In addition to hosting concerts and high school sports, the arena was home to the Oklahoma Storm, a basketball team in the USBL. Convention Hall is currently undergoing renovations and expected to reopen on November 18, 2012 as part of Veteran's Day festivities.[1] Upon reopening, Convention Hall will house two new ballrooms totalling 14,000 sq ft and 5,500 sq ft of additional meeting rooms.[2] It has been closed since 2009 for its inability to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.[3]

History[edit]

Cornerstone reads "Dedicated to the memory of those who offered their services in the defense of this country."
Cornerstone of Convention Hall includes then mayor M.C. Garber's name, and the architectural firm Layton, Smith and Forsyth who designed the building.

In 1919, Milton C. Garber, then mayor of Enid, and his commissioner aides, G. W. Pancoast and Jason W. Butts, proposed a bond issue for the construction of a building to memorialize the efforts of Garfield County soldiers in World War I.[4] Sealed bids were accepted until September 1, 1919 on bonds of $250,000 for the construction of the convention hall.[5][6] The building was constructed at a cost of $500,000 with an original capacity of 5,000.[4] It was designed by the architectural firm Layton, Smith and Forsyth and constructed by Bass and Frankenfield Builders. It served as a meeting place for the Enid Chamber of Commerce.[4] The hall served as a venue for stage productions including plays such as Hitchy-Koo and Al G. Field minstrel shows[4] and for musicians such as John Philip Sousa, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Bob Wills, and Fred Waring.[3] President George Bush spoke at the venue while campaigning in 1992.

The original hall was four stories tall, and had two balconies: the first of which holds 995 people and the second 667 people. The floor measures at 109 feet (33 m) long by 67 feet (20 m) wide, and can hold 600 people. The ceiling is 40 feet (12 m) high, and the stage measures at 37 feet (11 m) wide and nearly 30 feet (9.1 m) long.[7] The 2,500 seat basketball arena in Convention Hall was renamed in 1993 to Mark Price Arena after basketball player Mark Price who played for Georgia Tech and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition to hosting concerts and high school sports, the arena was home to the Oklahoma Storm, a basketball team in the USBL. The Skeltur Conference Tournament was held at the arena from 1964 to 2009.[8]

Closure[edit]

Front view of Convention Hall.

In May 2008, Enid Public Schools announced Enid's basketball games would no longer be played at Mark Price Arena but at the Mabee Center at Northern Oklahoma College Enid.[9] The facility is currently closed until it is able to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.[3] The Gateway Enid bond plan would have restored and renovated Mark Price Arena, as well as add additional recreational area and facilities to the downtown Enid area. However, the plan failed to pass on August 24, 2010.[10] Due to the narrow margin of failure, the city of Enid is still considering creating a new events center by demolishing or renovating Convention Hall and its neighboring Cherokee Strip Conference Center.[11] In September 2010, the City of Enid published a request for bids seeking for the demolition of Convention Hall.[12][13] The city received 13 bids from companies across the nation, with costs ranging from 120,000 dollars to 696,800 dollars.[14] At the same time, a group calling itself Friends of Convention Hall was formed to seek alternatives other than demolition, such as a 15 million dollar renovation plan designed by Enid architect Ken Corbin.[15] In December 2010, represented by attorney Bryce Kennedy, the group presented a petition of 4,000 signatories in support of convention hall.[16]

Renovations[edit]

In May 2011, city officials attended a groundbreaking to begin the Enid Renaissance Project which would build a new Enid Event Center and renovate Convention Hall.[17] W. L. McNatt and Company, of Oklahoma City was awarded a 7,082,000 dollar renovation contract for the building, including creation of an 11,000 sq ft ballroom, a 3,000 sq ft ballroom and 5,500 sq ft of meeting areas.[18]

Convention Hall during the construction of the Enid Event Center

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barron, Robert, "Convention Hall to open again Nov 18 at open house", Enid News & Eagle, October 4, 2012
  2. ^ http://www.enideventcenter.com/ConventionHall.aspx
  3. ^ a b c Lightsey, Eva, "A vision for MARK PRICE ARENA", Enid on the Move, June 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d McKiddy, J.H., "ENID One of Oklahoma's Fairest and Most Progressive Cities", The Frisco Employes Magazine, September 1924
  5. ^ Municipal Journal & Public Works, Volume 47, No 8., page 28
  6. ^ Industrial employment survey bulletin, Volumes 1-2, United States Employment Service, page 20
  7. ^ Mark Price Arena
  8. ^ Skeltur adjusts to new site The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, Oklahoma
  9. ^ No sports at Mark Price Arena; Enid police deal with their fair share of issues The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, Oklahoma
  10. ^ Gateway Enid Bond issue narrowly fails, Enid News & Eagle August 24, 2010
  11. ^ Barron, Robert, "New events center back on city table", Enid News & Eagle, December 1, 2010.
  12. ^ Malan, Joe, "City to gather bids on razing Convention Hall, Enid News & Eagle, September 17, 2010
  13. ^ "DEMOLITION OF MARK PRICE ARENA/CONVENTION HALL M-1101D" Enid News & Eagle, September 13, 2010, Page 3b.
  14. ^ Malan, Joe, City of Enid opens 13 bids to demolish Convention Hall, Enid News & Eagle, October 1, 2010
  15. ^ Barron, Robert, "Convention Hall support group looks to find renovation alternative", Enid News & Eagle, September 8, 2010
  16. ^ Barron, Robert, "Petition opposes razing Enid's Convention Hall", Enid News & Eagle, December 14, 2010
  17. ^ Malan, Joe, "Groundbreaking: City of Enid's Renaissance Project under way", Enid News & Eagle, May 20, 2011
  18. ^ Barron, Robert, "Renaissance Project contracts' meeting turns testy", Enid News & Eagle, October 11, 2011

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°23′37″N 97°52′47″W / 36.393736°N 97.879652°W / 36.393736; -97.879652