The City of Broken Arrow is finalizing plans to build an "Innovation District."
The city hopes to build a campus advanced manufacturing and technology companies share with schools. Some funding will come from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"They actually came to Broken Arrow and worked with us and OCAST, which is the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology, to create this concept, and so we've really got something that's very unique and there's nothing like it in the area," said Mayor Craig Thurmond.
Though it's an outside-the-box idea, Thurmond said economic development isn’t just about increasing sales tax revenue anymore. It’s also about growing jobs.
"We became the third-largest advanced manufacturing city in the state of Oklahoma by growing jobs, and we want to keep people in Broken Arrow," Thurmond said. "We want people to have that opportunity to not have to leave their city to work."
The concept follows Broken Arrow Public Schools’ plan to prepare students for an innovation-driven economy. Superintendent Janet Dunlop said the idea will broaden opportunities available to students, whether their postsecondary plans involve a technical certificate or a four-year degree.
"We talk about doing life. We want them to be able to do life, and that means having a prosperous career through which they can raise a family, have great benefits, and enjoy a happy and comfortable life," Dunlop said.
The innovation district will be in southeast Broken Arrow. An exact location could be announced by the end of May.
The Broken Arrow Economic Development Corporation is recruiting companies for the innovation district.