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Glittering Tulsa
New BOK arena sparkles like ice nearing completion and opening September 6

By Larry Levy Published: August 2, 2008

Embedded in the lower floor will be mosaics with an Indian motif, still to be completed.

Without the sales tax money, the floor would be sealed concrete, just like the upper — or third — seating level.

The carpeted-second level is for those who have bought suites ranging in price from $40,000 to $60,000. BOK paid $11 million for naming rights and a double suite for 27. The second level has its own entrance on the south side, with private elevators and escalators.

Fancy scoreboard
The Williams Co. paid $3.4 million for the eight-sided scoreboard, measuring 33 feet high and 30 feet wide. It has a million pixels of light on three levels, Edwards said. It nests in the ceiling when not in use.

A banner circling the arena has 300,000 LEDs for announcements, he said.

Each of the lower-level seats is wider and has more leg room than in many arenas. On the upper level, the seats are narrower.

As many as 18,041 people can be seated in the arena depending on the event, Edwards said. If attendance is light, the upper levels can be curtained off, giving an impression of a fuller house. Also, the west end can be curtained off if there is a stage event, so there are no empty seats behind the performers.

Taylor said companies have already told her that the BOK Center is "fabulous for attracting new employees.”

It has already had an effect because "we are seeing restaurants open up in downtown Tulsa,” she said.

While the BOK Center is owned by the city of Tulsa, it will be managed by SMG, a Philadelphia company specializing in facility management at 200 locations worldwide. SMG will have 75 full-time Tulsa employees headed by John Bolton. A subsidiary will handle the basic food concession — hot dogs, popcorn and beverages. In addition, six local restaurants also will serve specialities, including Chinese, pizza and barbecue.

Workmen prepare the score board, which has been lowered nearly to the floor, and prepare the floor for being iced for the first time. BY LARRY LEVY, THE OKLAHOMAN

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