A new grand entry way will be the landmark addition of the third and final phase of the Ford Center renovation project.
New coaches’ offices, a larger Thunder locker room, a practice gym and upgraded concession stands also are on the 2010 punch list.
But the highlight of a $53 million project next summer will be a new entry way on the southwest corner of the Ford Center near Robinson and I-40.
"It will be an iconic entrance to the arena,” said Tom Anderson, Oklahoma City’s special projects manager. "It will have a major glass element but it won’t look like an add-on. It will complement the existing building with some brick components.”
Other 2010 improvements include a new restaurant and bar lounge for all fans and updated concession stands.
"The whole experience outside the seating bowl changes next year,” said Brian Byrnes, vice president of ticket sales and services. "We’re adding novelty stands and concession stands.”
Oklahoma City voters approved a 15-month, 1-cent sales tax extension in March 2008 if an NBA team moved to Oklahoma City. The tax runs through March 2010.
The tax was projected to raise $120 million — $20 million toward a new practice facility that recently broke ground in northwest Oklahoma City — and $100 million earmarked for the Ford Center.
Because of the slow economy there was a $5.4 million shortfall of tax revenue the first six months, but the new practice facility will cost $7 million less than estimated. City officials hope those savings will help match tax collections.