By Rich Lenz, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- How appropriate that 700 Hilti employees were the first to help christen the $52 million renovation of the Tulsa Convention Center, after all, Hilti tools were used during the construction process. 

"Thrilled with the space, takes it to a whole 'nuther level. We're kind of using it as a 'wow factor' for our people coming in. We're saving it for our big award dinner," said Lori Schock with Hilti strategic marketing. 

The dinner this week took place in the new 30,000 square foot ballroom, the largest in the state of Oklahoma. 

"I am just so tremendously excited about this project finally coming to fruition," said Convention Center assistant general manager Janet Rockefeller. 

Rockefeller says she knew the building needed to get bigger, to compete regionally for larger, more lucrative conventions. 

"We added about 83,000 square feet which we'll give us about 310,000 square feet.  Kansas City, Dallas, Oklahoma City.  Oklahoma City is thinking about building a new convention center. There is money in conventions.  I mean we're in the center of America, it's very easy for people to travel here so we're very marketable now," Janet Rockefeller said. 

The renovation project included a 320 foot long tunnel, which allows workers to get from part of the center to the other without disturbing the guests. 

The tunnel leads into the ballroom and its iconic wavy ceiling.  "I love the movement and the texture and it's just so unusual," said Rockefeller. 

So are some of the names of the 35 meeting rooms, like the Blue Dome Room. 

"This is beautiful for weddings for fundraisers, for banquets, receptions," said Rockefeller. 

While $52 million is a lot of money, Rockefeller is quick to point out it was done within budget.  "It came from Vision 2025 and we're on time and we're on budget," Janet Rockefeller said. 

From planning to completion, the expansion/renovation took five years to complete. 

Next Tuesday, the Tulsa Convention Center will officially celebrate its "grand re-opening."