New Practice Facility Will Be Unique In Many Ways

The uniqueness of the Thunder’s new practice facility is that everything inside the building will serve a purpose.

There’s plenty more than just the basic components of two full-length basketball courts and a hydrotherapy area that will benefit the team’s medical and training staff.

The INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center will be designed to have the work flow conducive to the players, which means there will be an open feel to the building with many windows and glass walls.

Thunder General Manager Sam Presti and Thunder Director of Basketball Administration & Technology Paul Rivers have spent the last year researching and planning for the development center.

“Paul has done an unbelievable job of looking at other facilities in other sports, not just solely basketball, to try to bring the best concepts into our program,” Presti said. “We wanted to accelerate the building with a very thorough research and planning process.”

Atlas General Contractors was awarded the bid for the project; its previous work has included the University of Oklahoma’s indoor tennis facility and the OU football locker room. The Thunder also worked closely with the architectural firm Populous, whose prior work includes Yankee Stadium, planning for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London and a slew of other professional sports venues.

“We attempted to take what we felt were the best ideas that fit in our program and combine them with ideas that we think are unique to our approach and develop our own product,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said. “The intellectual approach was to garner the newest and best ideas, understand them and see how they would fit into our vision and not have to reinvent the wheel on certain things that others did.”

The Thunder went through HydroWorx for its hydrotherapy area, which will include an in-ground thermal and polar plunge as well as an underground water treadmill, things that most NBA franchises have.

The facility also will house a 27-seat classroom that allows coaches and players to use state-of-the-art video and computer technology to aid in team development. The room will be used for individual and team film sessions and meetings.

Naturally, there will also be a dining room, which caters to the nutritional component. And the Thunder designed the dining room in a way that a player cannot enter or exit the building without passing by it. A nutrition bar that has all the necessary supplements, from protein shakes, blenders and juices to water and Gatorade, will be displayed in such a way that the players have to walk by it every day.

This all goes back to fostering an environment geared toward player development on a daily basis.

“We think the Integris Health Thunder Development Center will be one of the best buildings in the league,” Presti said. “This project is yet another example of the community and local governments support of the vision we have for the Thunder organization.”

Contact Chris Silva