Gibbs College Reps Help Host National Brownfields Conference

The National Brownfields Training Conference was held in Oklahoma City from August 16th through the 19th. The local and national planning committees for the annual conference began work on the meeting in March of 2020. Ron Frantz, Director of the Environmental Design Program, served on the Local Planning Committee’s Mobile Workshops, Socials, and Evening Receptions Committee.  

Originally planned for April 27th – 30th in 2021, the conference was delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the planning committee’s commitment to an in-person conference in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City was chosen for the site of the conference due to the brownfield redevelopment happening in the city. The OKC Convention Center, where the conference was held, was built on a redeveloped brownfield.  

This conference brought over two thousand brownfield professionals from across the country to share knowledge about case study examples, program updates, and useful strategies for facing the challenges of developing brownfields. The conference featured federal agencies, engineering firms, developers, nonprofits, and more. Brownfields 2022 also held special sessions on local economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Several representatives from the OU Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture played key roles in the conference: 

  • Dean Hans Butzer participated in a Panel Discussion, “Core to Shore—OKC’s Plan to Redesign Downtown” 
  • Affiliate Associate Professor Gina Sofola (RCPL) led a mobile workshop, “Reinvestment and Connecting Community: Page Woodson and EastPoint in northeast Oklahoma City” 
  • Gina Sofola also participated in a Roundtable Conversation, “The Built Environment, Equity, and Revitalization—OKC & Tulsa Perspectives” 
  • Gina Sofola and Amanda Alewine (City of Oklahoma City Brownfields Program) were involved with the pre-conference “Environmental Justice Caucus” event 
  • Ron Frantz (IQC/Architecture/Environmental Design) recruited College of Architecture students as volunteers for the conference 

Brownfields 2022 also extends a special thanks to the following Gibbs College students who worked many hours over the five days of events: 

  • Marshall Berry (Environmental Design alumnus) 
  • Sara Delroshan (Regional and City Planning) 
  • Jen Fuentes (Environmental Design) 
  • Jake Lange (Environmental Design alumnus, Regional and City Planning, and Institute for Quality Communities Graduate Assistant) 
  • Duy Nguyen (Regional and City Planning and Institute for Quality Communities Graduate Assistant) 
  • Emily Perkins (Environmental Design alumnus and Regional and City Planning) 
  • Kevin Thomas (Regional and City Planning) 
  • Henry Wilson (Regional and City Planning and Institute for Quality Communities Graduate Assistant) 
  • Mumuchhu Gurung (RCPL alumna and former IQC Graduate Assistant) is now a staff person with the City of Oklahoma City Brownfields Program. She served as a mentor for all the student volunteers.