Arena renovations near completion

Monday, January 7, 2013

by Brianna Bailey

Work on the $94 million overhaul of the Chesapeake Energy Arena that Gary Desjardins helped oversee has largely been completed over the past year.

A final phase of the renovations includes moving the offices of the Oklahoma City Thunder to the facility, where they will overlook what was once the old elevated interstate highway. It is slated to wrap up this summer.

The Thunder staff lease office space in Leadership Square downtown and must walk back and forth between the arena and the team offices in preparation for games, said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Thunder.

“Being in a remote office building at times is very compromising,” Byrnes said. “To be on site in the same facility with vendors and guests will make it much more efficient for our staffing and resources.”

Construction on a new entryway on the south side of the remodeled arena wrapped up before the beginning of the 2012-2013 Thunder season in October. The project included the new entryway on the south side of the arena with a three-story atrium and a family fun zone. A new full-service restaurant, Center Court Grill, was also added to the arena in the latest round of renovations.

A massive video cylinder and 74-foot-wide outdoor light-emitting diode screen powered by eight movie projectors were added in 2011.

Significant improvements were also made to the main concourse, including 20 wedge-shaped video boards containing six 46-inch television screens placed throughout the halls. The concourse also got a new ceiling and paint, terrazzo floors and way-finding signs featuring the Chesapeake Energy Arena logo.

The renovations were paid for by the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax that Oklahoma City voters approved in 2008.