First Bank of Owasso: Traditions in a New Building
By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
SECURING THE FUTURE: Dee Sokolosky pauses to check on the status of the new First Bank of Owasso building. The new location is ideally located beside Highway 169 and 86th Street.
KELSY LORIN TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
First Bank of Owasso has created a trusting and lasting relationship with the community through the years. Most recently, the construction of a new location has brought with it the assurance to provide quality services to Owasso for years to come.
First Bank of Owasso was opened in 1962 as the very first bank in the city. Then, business merchants had to drive to Tulsa to do their banking every day. Without credit and debit cards, cash and check were the only available options and merchants needed banking services. “Opening the bank really helped local merchants make their deposits and get their change for the next day. When Owasso began to grow, the bank was a place to finance construction loans for residential mortgages and home loans,” adds Dominic Sokolosky, president of First Bank of Owasso.
Since opening, First Bank of Owasso has been actively involved in the community. This tradition continues today as the company focuses on helping area schools. Each year, the bank sponsors the primary fund raising activity for each of the elementary schools. Sokolosky proudly explains that the bank also helps out during the school’s annual walk-a-thons. “We give each school $500 for the event which usually covers the cost of all of the prizes for the students. We also give every student, teacher and member of staff a t-shirt which the school designs with their own themes.”
Four years ago, Owasso schools needed new scoreboards for all of their facilities and First Bank of Owasso helped fund the project. “Updated scoreboards were needed for football, baseball, softball and gymnasiums. We are giving the schools $30,000 a year for ten years to pay for a third of the cost for all
of the scoreboards,” explains Sokolosky.
First Bank of Owasso is unique in a number of ways but one that stands out the most is that it is locally owned and managed. “There aren’t very many community owned banks anymore. Many of them have been bought or merged into other institutions,” states Sokolosky. First Bank of Owasso is also unique in that it is a faith-based organization. “A third of our loans are given to churches and ministries.”
The idea to expand First Bank of Owasso to the new location began 30 years ago. Recently, members of the board jumped at the chance to expand when the opportunity presented itself. Garnett road was moved for the development of Smith Farm Marketplace and with lane adjustments, a lot was created next to Highway 169. The company immediately decided to make their idea into a reality. Four years ago, they started to work with architects to plan the building. Construction began in January of 2008 and it has taken 22 months for completion.
Over the years, Owasso has expanded towards the north and east. “There are a lot of folks who move to town and don’t know that we exist,” says Sokolosky. The new location is ideal because it is visible from Highway 169 and provides room to expand in the future.
The innovative five story building features a number of unique architectural elements. Each floor is 12,500 square feet and the total project is 62,500 square feet. Sokolosky says, “The west side of the building is a curve that mirrors the curve of Garnett. The bottom two stories are partially open to create an atrium and the fifth story has a walk out balcony.” First Bank of Owasso will occupy the first, second and fourth floors. The third and fifth floors are available for lease.
The construction of the new building required a collaborative effort by many different businesses. Sokolosky explains that specific priorities were given to “any businesses that are clients of the bank, businesses in Owasso, then the Tulsa area. Going out of state was the last resort. We ended up with the vast majority of it done by local businesses and trades.” Seven clients of the bank participated in the construction. Daniels and Daniels, a local company, was hired for construction management.
The new building will provide a great place for employees to enjoy that is functional and attractive. It has also been a nice addition to the community and will provide conference rooms that everyone can utilize.
The new building opened Nov. 12 for business. For more information visit www.firstbank.net or call (918) 272-5301.