Hampered by weather delays, the Thunder's new practice facility will not be ready for training camp. But once completed, the $14.5 million facility will be another attraction for free agents to join a young and talented roster in Oklahoma City.
The state-of-the-art practice facility will underscore the franchise's focus on players.
"Our organization starting with our ownership group, are committed to building, enhancing and sustaining an elite basketball operation," said general manager Sam Presti. "Our hope is this building puts both our players and staff in position to maximize their roles."
Originally scheduled to open in late September when training camp begins, adjusted estimates have the Thunder Training Center 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.
"There weren't many days for several months that there wasn't any standing water somewhere at this job site," said project manager John Russell. "It was a terrible winter to try and get it out of the ground. That's just part of business. You deal with the weather the best you can."
Located near Broadway Extension and Britton Road, the new practice facility will feature two full-length practice courts, state-of-the-art weight equipment, basketball offices, a players' lounge, locker room, hyrdotherapy pools and a 27-seat theater team meeting room to watch film.
"It will be a really nice facility, but it won't be extravagant," said Russell who has worked with other projects like the University of Oklahoma tennis center. "It will provide everything they need and serve them well."
Thunder officials are uncertain when they will relocate from the temporary practice facility in north Oklahoma City. One option is to move as soon the new facility is completed late this year. Another option is to wait until after the season.
Tom Anderson, the city's executive director of special projects, said the organization and the city want to make sure the project is done right.
"We have been incredibly fortunate to have our current facility," Presti said. "It will continue to serve us while our permanent facility is being completed. In terms of a time frame for moving in, that's something we'll evaluate as the project draws closer to completion."