The Thunder will be playing on a new basketball floor when the NBA season begins this fall. That’s just one of the $2.4 million worth of upgrades fans will notice this season at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Here’s a rundown from Tom Anderson, special projects manager in the city manager’s office:
Suites: Suites are being reconfigured; each suite will get a few new seats and the layout will be more functional, Anderson said. Club level carpet will be replaced. The low bid came in at $916,000, about $200,000 below estimates.
Court: The city estimates a new wooden floor built to NBA specifications will cost $200,000. Bids are due Aug. 5; the new floor is to be ready for play by Sept. 30. Of the old floor, which Anderson said is the original from 2008, “I’m sure it’s been used more than 300 times. It’s run the course of its useful life.”
Players’ family room/promoter offices: Plans call for more than doubling the space set aside for players’ families to about 2,600 square feet. Used during games, the room includes televisions and a play area for children. The project includes converting a former minor league hockey locker room into office space for tour managers, promoters and others who come through the arena with events such as concerts and need a place to work. The cost estimate was $600,000; the four lowest bids ranged from $822,000 to $870,000. The city council awarded the contract Tuesday to W.L. McNatt & Co.
Worth noting: Anderson said the high bids appeared related to the short amount of time available to complete the work. The contractor expects to pay overtime for nights and weekends to finish before the season starts.
The Arena Capital Improvement Fund will be used for the suites, court and family room. The Thunder pays money into the fund in exchange for control of naming rights at the city-owned arena.
Video: New video boards are being added to the arena bowl at a cost of $500,000, about $400,000 below projections. Money comes from the “big league city” arena improvements sales tax approved by voters in March 2008. That temporary 1-cent tax ran about 15 months; the tax and some associated revenue measures raised about $115 million.
This will be the last project paid for from the “big league city” fund. Once the final accounting is in, leftover money will go to the Arena Capital Improvement Fund and a fund for the Thunder’s practice facility.