Thunder, City Break Ground on New Practice Facility
“This is a very exciting day for the Thunder organization, as well as for Oklahoma City and INTEGRIS Health,” said Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett. “This state-of-the-art facility wouldn’t be possible without the support of the citizens of Oklahoma City and their desire to bring the NBA to this great market. I want to thank Mayor Cornett, the City Council and INTEGRIS Health for their leadership and assistance in this successful partnership.”
The new practice facility will be located at 9600 North Oklahoma, near the Broadway Extension and Britton Road interchange in northeast Oklahoma City. Representing the city today was Mayor Mick Cornett and Councilmen Skip Kelly and Patrick Ryan. Joining Bennett from the Thunder were Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti, and Head Coach Scott Brooks. INTEGRIS Health President & CEO Stanley Hupfeld also attended the ceremony.
Funding for construction of the practice facility and renovations to the Ford Center comes from a one-cent sales tax approved by Oklahoma City voters on March 4, 2008. The 15-month tax took effect on January 1, 2009 and will expire March 31, 2010. As part of the lease agreement, the Thunder will make an annual $100,000 rent payment to the City of Oklahoma City.
“Having the Thunder in Oklahoma City has been a tremendous sense of pride for our community,” Mayor Cornett said. ”When the citizens of Oklahoma City passed the Big League City initiative to renovate the Ford Center and build an NBA-leading practice facility, we all looked forward to this day. This building will be one of the finest practice facilities in the NBA, and we’re very excited to be able to provide this building to the Thunder.”
The new facility will feature a 27-seat team classroom that will allow coaches and players to use video and computer technology to assist in the continued development of the team. There will also be an expanded sports medicine and hydrotherapy area that will benefit the Thunder's medical and training staff in the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries.
"We are excited to break ground on our new development center," said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. "This development center is vital to the continued development of our players as we grow our organization. We are truly grateful to the citizens and the city for their continued support.
INTEGRIS Health is the official health care provider of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and signed a multi-year partnership with the team last season.
“We’re very proud to continue our partnership with the OKC Thunder for its upcoming second season," Hupfeld said. “We know this practice facility will help them become an even greater team, and it means a great deal to us to have the opportunity to provide medical needs to the Thunder players, staff members and their families. It’s an exciting time for INTEGRIS and for Oklahoma City.”