TULSA - The University of Tulsa showed off its 8,300-seat sports arena and convocation center Tuesday as construction nears completion early into the 1998 basketball season.
Athletic officials took reporters and photographers wearing hard hats on a tour of the Donald W. Reynolds Center next to Skelly Stadium on campus.
Architects pointed out features that will make the facility friendly for fans, including the layout that puts the highest seats just 52 feet above the court floor. No views are obstructed.
"What we worked very hard to do was not have a bad seat in the house," project architect Aaron Brown said.
Construction began in February 1997. University officials expect the Golden Hurricane men's and women's basketball teams to begin playing games in their new home by December or January.
Assistant athletic director Todd Ballew said the price tag amounted to about $30 million. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave $14.7 million and became the facility's namesake.
Other functions for the Reynolds Center besides athletics will be concerts, festivals, student conferences and commencement. University of Tulsa basketball games and graduation ceremonies previously were conducted off campus.
The multi-level Reynolds Center was shaped round to symbolize a ball.
"It's a reflection of what's going on in the building," Brown said.
The building's 172,000 square feet include a practice gym, offices for coaches, a weight room and sports medicine room with whirlpools. Plate-glass windows line the concourse.
Designs call for a novelty shop, seven concession stands, 12 women's restrooms and eight men's restrooms. The scoreboard will be equipped with video replay capabilities.
"The thing that is most striking about the court is how close to the floor the seats are," said Rick Martin, senior vice president of HOK Sports Facilities Group of Kansas City, Mo., which is building the Reynolds Center. "It's a very intimate court."
Martin described the 197-foot span of the arched roof trusses as dramatic.
"The volume created by the vaulting roof is probably the signature of the building," he said.
Air ducts and cable were scattered on the bare floor of the basketball court. No seats have been installed.Archive ID: 731880