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Tulsa downtown arena update

The interior design of Tulsa's downtown arena is taking shape. Architects said Thursday they're halfway into designing the details of the project.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the design team showed off examples of how the metal and glass exterior might look and despite the rising cost of materials, says they still believe it can be built for the money available in the Vision plan.

It’s only a model now, but enough to get the design team excited about seeing an idea come off the drawing board. Fred Clark with Cesar Pelli & Associates: "This is an absolutely distinct arena within the constellation of arenas."

Architects have designed half of what's needed for Tulsa's $183 million arena. That includes details like the structure of the roof and what architects call the "icon wall" - the soaring glass curtain that will face 3rd and Denver. The glass will look transparent, but likely have spots or stripes to block some of the sunlight.

Designers say its tricky work supporting that much glass. "To understand the best way to structure the building, and try to keep the wall as transparent as possible." The plan now is for exterior walls made of zinc, with a matte finish.

The primary ingredients for the building are concrete and steel and both are getting more expensive. Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: “The arena will have a seating capacity of 18,000 seats." But Tulsa's mayor says the arena will not be downsized - and any over-runs can be covered by private fundraising or by extra money collected from the Vision tax. "We know what we'll get from the public dollars, working with the county, there was a reserve put aside, that was a significant amount of money, many millions of dollars, we hope to see that released by the county in the near future, so those are significant dollars, all that would go into the overall budget.”

The next step on the site is to dig out the utilities, that will happen late this month and once the last couple of buildings are cleared away there will be a ground breaking, now predicted to be mid-summer.
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