TULSA, Okla. — The second floor of the Natalie Building on the Saint Francis Hospital campus will re-open for orthopedic medical care in the next couple of years.
The second floor is the site of the June 1, 2022, shooting in which a gunman opened fire killing four innocent people, including two doctors seeing patients in their clinic. Since the shooting, it has been vacant, dark, and sealed off from the public.
“I can’t imagine us using that space ever again. I can’t imagine any other path forward other than to have that clinic just go dark,” said Saint Francis Healthsystems CEO Dr. Cliff Robertson the day after the shooting when speaking with reporters on June 2, 2022.
One year later, Robertson said major changes to the first and second floor of the Natalie Building are in the early stages of planning. Those plans will include a permanent memorial on the first floor honoring those killed, and on the second floor where the shooting happened, the entire area will be gutted for a new state-of-the-art orthopedic surgery center. There will be no sign on the old clinic.
“We’ll be moving forward with the redesign and reconstruction of that space because we have physicians that are wanting to be back together as a single group,” Robertson FOX23 News last month.
Drs. Preston Phillips and Stephanie Husen were not the only physicians who worked out of the clinic on the 2nd floor, and since that day, those doctors, all belonging to the same orthopedic department, have been spread out in multiple spaces belonging to Saint Francis Health System.
“It will be a completely different look and feel than what was there,” Robertson said.
The goal of the renovation and redesign will not be to erase the memory of that day and the existence of those who died there. A memorial of some kind is also being studied to go on the first floor.
“We’re going to do something in The Natalie that will memorialize the four that we lost,” Robertson said about the plans for the building moving forward. “We know how important that is.”
Robertson said there is no rush to get the renovations done because some people are still trying to process what happened, but the changes will take place over the next couple of years.
“We knew because of what happened there it would take a while before we ever even considered using that space for anything ever again,” he said.
Saint Francis Health System said people are welcome to lay flowers again to mark the one-year anniversary at the door of the Natalie Building, but it’s preferred if people just stayed away from what was the crime scene and instead show support for the staff and the victims in other ways such as donations to causes set up and wearing pink.
Robertson said there have been a few people who have tried to break the building’s second floor to take pictures of the clinic for a variety of reasons, including people obsessed with mass shooting scenes and bloggers, but they have all been stopped by security and even given trespass notices.
Aside from the impacted area on the 2nd floor, the Natalie Building’s other floors and offices are still open and operating. Unless patients have a specific appointment, the public is asked to stay away.