Stage, handicapped ramp in place for downtown pavilion

Feb. 6—A raised concrete stage and a handicapped ramp are in place for the outdoor pavilion currently under construction in downtown McAlester.

Work has been ongoing, with the concrete handicapped ramp poured Monday, following pouring of the pavilion's base on Friday.

Early Monday, workers were smoothing out or "floating" the concrete on the handicapped ramp, which will access the stage from the back, or north, side.

Mike Pruitt, who designed and is overseeing the project, said work is proceeding on schedule for the pavilion at First Street and Choctaw Avenue.

"Today we poured the handicapped ramp to ADA specifications," Pruitt said Monday.

As he spoke, construction workers Eliazar Guerrero and J. Guadalupe Gomez, of Cuños Concrete, used a floating technique to embed aggregates in the freshly-poured concrete, smoothing out any humps or indentions, then smoothed it out with trowels. Pruitt plans to install handrails a little later in the process.

The pavilion's concrete base poured Friday had already dried and hardened by Monday, complete with steps leading up to the front of the pavilion stage.

It's approximately 18 inches high in front, which faces downtown Choctaw Avenue and approximately 9 inches high in back, which is going uphill on First Street.

The downtown pavilion, including the stage area, is 18 feet wide and it will be 24 feet deep, Pruitt said. Only three parking areas on First Street will be lost, he said.

Plans call for the pre-ordered pavilion structure to be manufactured to specification in March and then delivered to McAlester.

"It will be here on March 14," Pruitt said of the delivery schedule.

It is expected to arrive in McAlester in different sections that will then be assembled locally.

"It will take three days to put it together," Pruitt said.

After the main structure is assembled, plans call for a roof to be installed as a separate procedure. Pruitt said that's because several different types of roofs were options, including metal roofs and shingle roofs, with the decision to go with a black metal roof.

"We will have to put on the metal roof," Pruitt said.

So has the date changed for the project's completion?

"It should be ready by April 1, no fooling," Pruitt quipped Monday.

He is among those looking forward to the finished project.

Benefits include no longer having to bring in a portable outdoor stage for many of the downtown events and activities.

"It's going to a great asset for downtown events," said Pruitt.