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Oklahoma City Ballet Building Showcases Versatility of Quonset Hut

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Male ballet dancer lifts ballerina in the air at quonset hut ballet studio
Ballet dancers perform in the Oklahoma City Ballet center. (Photo: OKC Ballet)

With stunning natural light and plenty of open space, the Oklahoma City Ballet building seems like it was made for showcasing the dancers’ talents–but the city’s professional ballet company didn’t always inhabit the space.

Male and female classical ballet dancers perform in large quonset hut ballet studio
Ballet dancers perform in the Oklahoma City Ballet center. (Photo: OKC Ballet)

Before the  building was the dance company’s headquarters, it was the American Energy Partners Fitness Center. American Energy Partners, an oil and natural gas operating and asset management company, initially opened the facility as a corporate gym for employees and their friends and family. In October 2015, the gym became open to the public. It had a basketball court, two racquetball courts, a rock climbing wall and two floors with weights and cardio machines.

According to The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City Ballet purchased the former state-of-the-art fitness center in February 2017 and converted it into the home for the professional company, its administrative offices and its ballet school.

“With the purchase and future renovations of this iconic building, Oklahoma City Ballet will have one of the premier dance centers in the entire nation,” Sally Nichols Starling, president of the OKC Ballet board of trustees, said.

SteelMaster’s special curved panels serve as the cladding of the massive building. Normally, our buildings are prefabricated and designed to make construction easy for even a beginner, but this highly customized Quonset Hut™ building required a little more than the average customer. AEP wanted special curved panels that did not include the normal pre-punched holes for bolts. They used custom 18 gauge steel to put on top of a superstructure they erected. This area typically experiences strong winds and dangerous hail storms, and the company knew only SteelMaster’s buildings could serve as the ultimate protective shield.

These special panels bolted together created the 99-foot-wide, 37-foot-tall, 180-foot-long solid steel, semi-circular structure that gives this facility its unique look and strength. Not only does this design help to create a modern look to the fitness center, this round structure is also ideal for air flow, it’s specially insulated to keep heating and cooling bills low, and it can protect occupants from dangerous tornadoes that also historically plague this city.

The new facility has increased OKC Ballet’s available space from 8,000 square feet to more than 28,000 square feet.

One of the biggest advantages of owning a SteelMaster building is its versatility. If you need to change the use of your building, it’s easy to repurpose.  One way to repurpose the building is adding or removing arches to change the size of the building. Since our endwalls are not load bearing, you can also remove them to make the building open ended, or change them out for a different style.

With imagination and innovation, your SteelMaster Quonset Hut™ can be used for almost anything.