SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

Thunder Practice Facility's Debut Delayed By Weather Problems

Thunder Training Center Originally Scheduled
To Open In Late September When Camp Begins

The Thunder's new $14.5M practice facility "will not be ready for training camp," as it has been "hampered by weather delays," according to Mike Baldwin of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN. The Thunder Training Center was "originally scheduled to open in late September when training camp begins," but adjusted estimates have the complex being "completed in November or December." Add-ons "have delayed construction, but the primary reason the project is behind schedule is 50-plus days lost to weather issues, including near record snow fall last winter." The new facility will feature "two full-length practice courts, state-of-the-art weight equipment, basketball offices, a players' lounge, locker room, hydrotherapy pools and a 27-seat theater team meeting room to watch film" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/7). Baldwin also noted a new 1,052-square-foot room in the facility that will be "primarily used as a storage and laundry room" will "double as a shelter." Project manager John Russell said that 30 to 40 people "could fit in the room 'if you really packed them in'" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/7).

FINAL TUNE-UP: The OKLAHOMAN's Baldwin noted final renovations on Ford Center "will begin this fall and be completed in the summer of 2011." Oklahoma City officials have "earmarked nearly $40 million for the final phase -- a grand entryway on the southwest corner" of the arena. Bids for the final phase "will be taken this summer and excavation will begin this fall" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/7). Meanwhile, Baldwin noted the Sports Facilities sales tax that was approved by voters in '08 was projected to raise $101M for Ford Center renovations and $20M for the new practice facility. But the city "might save as much as" $14M, as the Ford Center renovations are projected to cost $91.5M and the practice facility $14.5M. Because of the "down economy, the tax raised only $103 million but the city will supplement the shortage with sports facilities use taxes" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/7).

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