The Oklahoma City Thunder's new practice facility may be about a year behind schedule, but it's under budget and should be ready for the team to move in by August, city officials said Tuesday.
The practice building, located north of Britton Road at the Broadway Extension, was originally slated for completion last August. But the interior should be ready for the team to move in by Aug. 15, and perhaps as soon as the middle of July, said Wayne Courville, Project Director for the city's Public Works Department.
The facility and renovations to Oklahoma City Arena have been paid for by a one-cent city sales tax. The projects are a combined $7.2 million under budget, but some of that money could go to unexpected issues that arise as they near completion, said Tom Anderson, the city's Executive Manager for Special Projects.
Work on the exterior of the practice facility is expected to continue after the team moves in, Courville said. A running hill, sand pit, exercise pool and field will be built, along with covered parking for players and coaches.
City officials hope to have much of the work completed by the start of the NBA preseason in September. But labor negotiations between team owners and the player's union could truncate or delay the start of the NBA year. The league's collective bargaining agreement expires this summer, and a potential lockout looms.
Renovation and improvement work on Oklahoma City Arena, including a new entrance on the arena's southwest side, new restaurants and team offices, should be completed by May.
Just in time for a potential Thunder appearance in next season's NBA Finals?
“I like that way of thinking,” Courville said.
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