Share “Ford Center renovations to begin this summer”

By Randy Ellis Published: July 2, 2008
/> The city planned all along to follow the same construction schedule, regardless of whether the team moved to Oklahoma City in time for the 2008-2009 season or was forced to play two more years in Seattle to fulfill a Seattle lease agreement, said Tom Anderson, special projects coordinator for Oklahoma City.

Brighter lighting and upgrades to wiring and the broadcast infrastructure will be made this summer, Anderson said. NBA staff members identified these as things that needed to be done immediately to facilitate television broadcasts of games, Anderson said.

City officials have identified several other improvements they would like to have completed by the end of 2008 to improve things for the public and enhance team revenues, he said. Improvements to restrooms, event sponsor areas, bunker suites, and a private club would fit in that category, he said.

The most massive improvements will be put off until after the Big 12 basketball tournament and women’s regional tournament in March 2009 to avoid inconveniencing fans, Anderson said.

Following those tournaments, the Ford Center will have to be closed down for a couple months — at least as far as concert activities are concerned — so major construction work can be done, Anderson said.

During that time, a warm up area will be built in the southeastern part of the Ford Center, a loading dock with a covered shelter will be built and other major construction work will be done.

Improvements will continue until the fall of 2010, with an off site practice facility also being built.

Oklahoma City residents voted March 4 to extend a 1-cent sales tax 15 months to pay for $100 million in improvements to the Ford Center and construction of a new $20 million practice facility for the Sonics’ basketball team.

Randy Ellis: 475-3522, rellis@oklahoman.com



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