Capitol Hill Booklet

Past Present & Future CapitolHill Center Oklahoma City Community College

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

1889-1999 The Past




Capitol Hill’s population grows to 5,000 residents. 1916

The Capitol Hill Theatre movie house renamed Yale Theatre.

The Capitol Hill News (later the Capitol Hill Beacon ) is established as the town’s newspaper. Police and fire services are added. The home of Dr. W.C. Hottle serves as the first hospital in the south metro.


Oklahoma becomes the 47 th state in the Union. November 16, 1907

The Morris Packing Plant opens, establishing Capitol Hill as a center of commerce. It’s often referred to as “Packingtown.” Lee Elementary is built. It’s the first public school in the area. Approximately 2,500 residents call Capitol Hill home.



May 3, 1904

A significant flood of the North Canadian River and Lightning Creek occurs, destroying many homes and businesses in Capitol Hill and surrounding south OKC areas.

Capitol Hill Junior High and Capitol Hill Elementary are established.

The town of Capitol Hill is incorporated. Mount St. Mary’s Academy is built the same year.

T he history of Capitol Hill is unique to its After the Oklahoma Land Run in 1889, Benoni R. Harrington saw the value of the land south of what is now downtown Oklahoma City and the North Canadian River. His hopes were that this area would eventually be the site of the State Capitol. He purchased the land from Miss Tryphosa Boyd, who claimed the 160-acres in the Land Run. In 1900, Harrington begins the process of platting this area for development and four years later, Capitol Hill is incorporated as a town. geographic boundaries, but is also an integral part of the rise of and expansion of Oklahoma City today.

The town of Capitol Hill is annexed by neighboring Oklahoma City and in six years, its population doubles to 5,000 residents. This growth continues into the roaring 20s with the establishment of three more schools, Capitol Hill General Hospital, and Capitol Hill Savings and Loan Association. In the late 1920s, Little Flower Church, a monastery and school, opens with a mission to serve the numerous Mexican-American residents of the area. Over the next 100 years, this population sees significant growth. Two significant events occur in this era: a flood destroys homes and businesses in the area and the discovery of oil near S.E. 59 th and Bryant.

The latter creates a second economic boom for the area.

The early part of the 20 th century is measured by the growth of the area. Mount St. Mary’s Academy, the area’s Capitol Hill News (later known as the Capitol Hill Beacon) , the town’s first newspaper, are established. The area also gains police, fire, and hospital services. In 1909, the opening of the Morris Meat Packing Plant and the town’s proximity to the stock exchange puts Capitol Hill on the map as a thriving business district. During this time, Lee Elementary is built. This is Capitol Hill’s first public school and one of the first public schools in the area. By 1910, Capitol Hill has approximately 2,500 residents. This same year, the Oklahoma state capitol is permanently moved from Guthrie to northeast Oklahoma City.

However, the 1930s brings the Great Depression and a decade of survival for the residents of Capitol Hill. It is not until World War II, that the district regains its economic momentum along Commerce Street. This era marks the rise of Tinker Air Force Base, the growth of brand new suburban areas, and the beginning of the “Baby Boomers”. As the 1940s close out, the early 1950s bring several notable new additions to the area: Southeast High School, Capitol Hill Library, Katz Drug Co., Langston’s





WWII creates a new wave of economic prosperity for Capitol Hill. This era marks the beginning of the “Baby Boomers” and the rise of the suburbs. 1940s

Oil is discovered near SE 59 th and Bryant December 1928

Katz Drug Co. closes the Capitol Hill location. Area leaders begin talks about creating a junior college. South Community Hospital (later INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center) also opens during this time.

The Great Depression and Dustbowl hit Oklahoma especially hard. Many leave Oklahoma for better opportunities out west, but Capitol Hill persists during these tough times.

Photo Credit: Roger Klock


Capitol Hill General Hospital is built on the corner of South Harvey Ave. and SW 23 rd Street (called A Street).



A wave of new additions to the Capitol Hill area include: Southeast High School, Capitol Hill Library, Katz Drug Co., Langston’s Western Wear, and U.S. Grant High School.

Capitol Hill Savings and Loan Association and Little Flower Church, monastery, and school opens.

September 25, 1972


South Oklahoma City Junior College opens.

Capitol Hill High School is established.

Western Wear, and U.S. Grant High School. Suburban growth continues in the south metro, as does the demand for automobiles. These factors lead to major road construction across the area replacing right-of- way trolley lines. These projects eventually lead to the construction of I-240. The 1950s and 60s are marked with tremendous social upheaval across the country. Segregation was the norm and the fight for equality swept across the nation, bolstered by the landmark case Brown v. the Topeka, Kansas Board of Education. The case found school segregation to be unconstitutional.

lunch counter located in downtown OKC. In the days following, Katz changed their store segregation policy nationwide. This event is considered a catalyst for civil rights demonstrations around the country. Similar sit-ins would continue in Oklahoma City for four more years before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With downtown residents leaving for the suburbs and an overall decline in the city’s downtown area, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority commissions the Pei Plan to revitalize 528 acres of downtown Oklahoma City. Through the 1970s and 1980s, this plan does little to improve the city’s revitalization, causing a reverse effect and the transition of commerce, workers, and residents to the area’s suburbs and beyond.

In 1968, the idea for a junior college in the south OKC metro is pushed forth by civic and political leaders. On March 20, 1969, a committee of the Greater Capitol Hill Chamber (later named the South Oklahoma City

Capitol Hill struggled during the 1970s and 80s. The area’s once thriving business district took a substantial hit with the opening of Crossroads Mall in 1974. J.C. Penney and John A. Brown decide to move their Commerce Street stores to the mall. In 1987, Langston’s Western Wear in Capitol Hill closes their doors as well. Another economic hit comes with the 1980s national oil downturn. Coupled with an agricultural price decline, Oklahoma City begins to see major financial institutions collapse and a substantial increase in real estate foreclosures and bankruptcies, beginning a recession that would last much of the early part of the decade.

Chamber of Commerce) was organized to circulate petitions asking the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to establish a junior college in south OKC.

Shortly thereafter, the district was formed and a board of trustees was appointed. On September 25, 1972, South Oklahoma City Junior College opened for classes.

In 1958, Oklahoma City civil rights activist Clara Luper led 13 children in a sit-in at the Katz Drug Co.





Langston’s in Capitol Hill closes. OCCC is flourishing with thousands of students and an economic impact of $500 million each year.

The downturn in the oil industry causes a long period of recession.


Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick introduces the MAPS plan to revitalize downtown OKC and the surrounding inner urban neighborhoods. Capitol Hill becomes a Main Street District.



Oklahoma City celebrates its centennial with

Crossroads Mall opens and several Capitol Hill retailers including J.C. Penney and John A. Brown leave the area for prominent anchor locations.

1 million residents.

Photo credit: Jim Argo


South Oklahoma City Junior College is officially renamed Oklahoma City Community College.

Before 1985, OKCPS students were bused across the metro to create more diverse and less segregated schools. This practice becomes optional in 1985 and urban schools return to a near-segregation period with disproportionate racial demographics reflective of the neighborhood populations. In then blighted areas such as Capitol Hill, this becomes a huge equity challenge for funding the district’s schools. One bright spot was the success of South Oklahoma City Junior College, officially renamed Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) in 1983. By 1987, it’s estimated that OCCC contributes nearly half a billion dollars in economic impact to Oklahoma City, offering broad access to higher education opportunities for over 22,000 students in the metro.

By the beginning of the 1990s, Oklahoma City celebrates its centennial with a population of 1 million residents. In 1992, Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick develops the novel MAPS capital improvement plan to catalyze growth and development in OKC’s withered downtown and the surrounding inner urban neighborhoods. In 1997, Capitol Hill becomes a Main Street district. Main Street districts are located throughout the United States and are overseen by nonprofit foundations aimed at revitalizing economic and community development in aging or blighted historic areas. These groups focus on historic preservation, cultural diversity, placemaking, and growing businesses. Capitol Hill Main Street is at the heart of much of the area’s renewal efforts today and is comprised of community leaders from around the Oklahoma City metro.

2000-2012 The Present




The OCCC Capitol Hill Center relocates to the heart of historic Capitol Hill at the former Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, now known as The Well. 2012-2017

OCCC receives $50,000 of the SBC Excelerator Grant in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges. 2003


The U.S. Census shows 17.2 percent of Oklahoma City’s population identifies as Hispanic.

The OCCC Capitol Hill Center relocates to the Latino Community Development Agency on South Walker.

October 2008

2007 Oklahoma celebrates 100 years of statehood.

OCCC purchases the building at the corner of SW 25 th and Hudson Avenue. The site was formally home to Katz Drugstore and Langston’s Western Wear. Most recently, it was occupied by Christmas Connection.

OCCC opens a satellite education facility known as the OCCC Capitol Hill Center at Capitol Hill Elementary School. This is made possible with a 3-year $443,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The world enters the new millennium. 2000

T he OCCC Capitol Hill Center first opened its doors in the fall of 2000 inside Capitol Hill Elementary School and has been located in the heart of the Hispanic community ever since. From 2007 to 2012, the center temporarily relocated to the Latino Community Development Agency, and then moved into the temporary location at The Well, formerly known as the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, until opening its doors at the new permanent location on Commerce Street in 2017. The OCCC Capitol Hill Center started with a U.S. Department of Education community technology grant that helped establish the initial goal to address the most basic educational needs via non-credit courses in English Language, basic reading and writing instruction, and an introduction to computer skills.

Programming was later expanded in 2003 with the support of a SBC Excelerator grant in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges. Throughout the years, many adult education and literacy classes have been funded through various federal funding grants. With the goal of serving the urban, predominantly Hispanic community of Capitol Hill in Oklahoma City, the OCCC Capitol Hill Center continuously explores ways to enrich its programming and better serve community residents. The center is recognized as a leader in building on the social assets of its diverse community and collaborating with other community organizations to promote educational development and economic growth.

In addition to its programs that focus on adult and family literacy, work readiness, and early college awareness, the OCCC Capitol Hill Center also serves as a community center open to the public to use its computer labs and facilities for meetings and events. O ne community program that has had tremendous success at the OCCC Capitol Hill Center is College for Kids. College for Kids is a dynamic, fun, and enriching cultural summer program offered to 5th through 8th graders in the Oklahoma City metro. Classes include science, technology, engineering, art, math, music, dance, language, humanities, theater and much more. This program is sponsored in collaboration with Oklahoma City Public Schools.

In October 2008, the college purchased the historic buildings at the corner of SW 25th Street and Hudson Avenue, formerly occupied by the Christmas Connection and the past locations of Langston’s Western Wear and Katz Drug Co. The OCCC Capitol Hill Center remains at the heart of the community and continues to expand educational opportunities and community engagement.



Alejandro Rendon Sanchez Scholarship Recipients 2012 Roberta Thompson 2013 Andres Perilla Alexandra Torres 2014 Roman Alcantara Jhonnatan Gonzalez Gabriela Jimenez 2015

Alejandro Rendon Sanchez Alejandro Rendon Sanchez was devoted to the mission of Oklahoma City Community College and to the community. Sanchez served as the Director of the OCCC Capitol Hill Center from 2000-2010. He lost his battle with cancer in May 2010. He was the beloved husband of Teresa Rendon for over 35 years and a devoted father to his children, Gabriel Eduardo Rendon and Gloria Rendon Mahaffey. Upon his death, his family established The Alejandro Rendon Sanchez Memorial Scholarship in his memory. The scholarship awards $750 to a Latino student who has completed at least 12 hours at OCCC, has a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and is involved in the community. Dozens of students have benefited from the scholarship since its inception.

Felicitas Guzman Mario Jimenez Jr. Maria Ramires Sara Ramirez

Nancy Reyes Raquel Rosa Carlos Villanueva-Chavez 2016

The Future 2013-

Angelica Butanda Aaron Cardenas Sarai Chavez Jennifer Martinez Karen Martinez

Bianca Medina Santos Sergio Mendez Aceros 2017

Esteban Young Mariela Claudio Nancy Reyes Wendy Ibanez Yadira Pedraza



August 2015

stairwells and elevator, reinforcing and adding building structural components, running groundwater pumps and drainage piping, establishing electrical and data rooms, and installing storefront

for Kids program. The center now offers its full range of programs with the intention of adding more college credit programs in the future.

The OCCC Capitol Hill Center had 1,400 student enrollments and served approximately 12,000 visitors. 2016

The City of Oklahoma City gives OCCC $3.3 million from the downtown TIF towards Phase I of the project.

August 18, 2017 The OCCC Capitol Hill Center is formally dedicated.

glass systems and exterior metal panels. The final touch in this phase was adding new OCCC-branded signage on the building’s exterior. Phase II began in August 2016 and finished out the first-floor interior of both buildings,

With these programs, the OCCC Capitol Hill Center improves and increases access to postsecondary education for the Capitol Hill community, preparing individuals for future success in the workforce. In the 2016 fiscal year, the center had 1,400 student enrollments and approximately 12,000 visitors. It is expected these numbers will exponentially increase with the opening of the new center. In 2016 and 2017, the OCCC Capitol Hill Center received two additional grants of note. The iFund Opportunities


August 2016 Phase II of the project begins.

The initial phases of the OCCC Capitol Hill Center project begin with the Asbestos Abatement Phase in 2010 and the Pre-Construction Demolition Phase which started in July 2014.

March 2015

Phase 1 of the OCCC Capitol Hill Center construction begins.

W ith the opening of the new OCCC Capitol Hill Center at 325 SW 25 th Street, the community can expect even more from Oklahoma City Community College. The center will continue to offer life-changing educational and workforce development opportunities. It is envisioned to be a center of community development and engagement. It has been a legacy in the making and will be a continued legacy for generations. The college worked with City Hall to secure just over $3 million in funding from a tax increment financing (TIF) district to provide partial funding for the new OCCC Capitol Hill Center.

installing heating and cooling systems, fire suppression systems, new flooring and finishes, restrooms, and electrical equipment. The completion of this phase enabled the

The renovation of the property began with the Asbestos Abatement Phase in October 2010 which lasted two months and was completely funded by grant money. Following this phase, the Pre-Construction Demolition Phase began in July 2014 which also lasted two months. This phase allowed for the identification of any unforeseen facility design needs that may not have been previously visible. This included the removal of all existing interior walls, ceiling and flooring materials, ductwork, piping, and fixtures. Phase I of the construction project began in March 2015. This phase focused on renovating the building’s exterior, restoring the exterior masonry, replacing the rooftop and constructing the new rooftop terrace, installing two new

functionality of community and general education classrooms, computer classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, the community room, reception area, art gallery, and rooftop terrace.

for Children Grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation funds the Community After School Tutoring (CAST) Program. The CAST program serves second graders from Capitol Hill Elementary School with the intent to increase reading and math literacy as well as comprehension skills.

The completion of Phase II permitted the opening of the OCCC Capitol Hill Center in the summer of 2017. The first program to christen the new facility was the College



“The Oklahoma City Community College Capitol Hill Center is a product of the true community spirit that Oklahomans are known for. We would not be where we are today without the generous financial support of our many donors, the efforts of our community partners advocating for the center, and our faculty and staff who believed in the project from the beginning. Thank you.” Thank You!

Programs Offered Adult and Family Literacy Programs: High School Equivalency (HSE) Courses English as a Second Language (ESL) English Language Learner (ELL) Citizenship Classes Work Readiness Programs: Introduction to Technology for the Workforce Bilingual Technology for the Workforce (offered in English, Spanish, and Korean) Financial Literacy Early College Awareness Programs: College for Kids (5 th – 8 th graders) ACT Prep After School Programming:

ESL for Newcomers in Middle and High School Mentoring and Tutoring for OKCPS elementary students College Credit Programs: Bilingual Banking and Finance (Certificate of Mastery)

The Dollar General Grant funds programs designed to provide computer

The OCCC Capitol Hill Center offers an Introduction to Technology for the Workforce course with the assistance of this grant.

courses for Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency, and English as a Second Language participants and to develop basic technology skills to complete online job applications, prepare for online testing and college applications, and assist with seeking additional employment opportunities.

The center is launching economic development and revitalization of the historic Capitol Hill District and will serve as an invaluable resource for the community. The third phase of the project will complete the full renovation of the center.

President Jerry Steward



To the State Capitol: 6.3 miles To OCCC:

SW 24 th Street

1 Capitol Hill Library 2 OCCC Capitol Hill Center 3 Grill On The Hill 4 El Nacional 5 Capitol Hill United Methodist Church

2 1


SW 25 th Street

{ 5.4 miles

3 4

1 community classroom 1 computer classroom 1 traditional classroom 2 21 st century classrooms 1 community room which also serves as a classroom option 1 art gallery, the John Michael Williams Gallery 4 employee offices and work spaces 1 security suite for the Campus Police Department 4 storage areas 1 collaboration space 1 rooftop terrace

The Building

44,000 square feet



The Interior

The John Michael Williams Gallery will showcase art throughout the year and can be utilized as a reception space.

The reception area greets guests with an open feel and bright modern colors.

The brick wall is part of the original building. The circle grid in front of the wall creates a modern juxtaposition between past and present.

The community spaces can be used for a variety of setups and purposes.



For information about the OCCC Capitol Hill Center, classes, and rental space: (405) 272-5140 | |

Thank You! The following groups and individuals provided photos and information about the history of Capitol Hill:

Bob L. Blackburn Calle Dos Cinco

OCCC Keith Leftwich Memorial Library The Oklahoma City Free Press The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library Oklahoma City Public Schools The Oklahoman Oklahoma Department of Commerce The Oklahoma Historical Society

The Capitol Hill Beacon Capitol Hill Main Street

The 21 st Century Classroom concept infuses technology into every facet of the learning experience.

One of the most breathtaking features is the rooftop terrace that gives guests views of the south metro and downtown Oklahoma City.

Laura E. Faulk Odie B. Faulk Terry L. Griffith Charles G. Hill The Kansas City Public Library Langston’s Western Wear Doug Loudenback

William Welge James D. White


All information supplied in this publication is accurate at the time of printing; however, changes may occur and will supersede information in this publication. This publication was printed by Oklahoma City Community College. A total of 500 copies were printed at a cost of $550.50. Oklahoma City Community College, in compliance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and other Federal Laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, handicap, disability or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and education services. In addition to the aforementioned federally protected characteristics of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, handicap, disability or status as a veteran, Oklahoma City Community College is committed to a diverse and inclusive educational environment, respecting diversity in religious belief, political affiliation, citizenship or alien status, sexual orientation, and marital status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Ms. Regina Switzer;, EO/AA Director; 7777 South May Avenue; Oklahoma City, OK 73159. 405.682.1611. (01/2013)

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