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FISTA construction progresses in downtown Lawton

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Crews are making progress on construction at Central Plaza in downtown Lawton.

The changes are coming as a part of the phase one renovation of the Fires Innovation Science & Technology Accelerator.

Construction has been underway for two months, but people are starting to notice changes on the outside of the FISTA in Lawton.

On the north face of FISTA one, crews are installing signage with LED displays.

FISTA Director James Taylor said it’s exciting for the city’s future.

“The unique posture of this is something that Lawton’s never seen before,” Taylor said. “This is a paradigm shift. This is a generational change for this community. This isn’t just for here and now. This is for future generations.”

They’ll also be building a high security eight-foot wrought iron fence to protect the offices inside but that won’t affect retail customers or traffic.

With these security measures, contractors will be able to do work that otherwise would need to be done on Fort Sill.

“Here we have the ability to do that same type of work, up to a certain security level they can do inside the FISTA because this in fact is certified by the federal government to do that type of work,” Taylor said.

And while security is a high priority, officials want the public to stay informed about what’s happening inside if possible.

“We will have a small welcome center that will serve as a means to educate the public, community groups and the like to explain to them what’s going on in the FISTA that we can talk about,” Taylor said. “Then adjacent to that would be the administrative offices.”

The FISTA is working to establish STEM programs in collaboration with Lawton Public Schools and Cameron University.

“Another part is creating a engineering makerspace that is a playroom for budding engineers at the college level where they can come in and do work in an engineering arena that will help prepare them for working in the field of engineering,” Taylor said.

He said the FISTA can be a bridge to the next generation.

“Because we see by having an active STEM program or science, technology, engineering, mathematics, we create our future workforce, whether they work here or not, they can go after high tech jobs,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the fence should be put up shortly and officials hope to complete phase one construction by November.

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