Convention Center Expansion Underway

Tuesday, November 18th 2008, 5:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The next phase of construction on Tulsa's arena and convention center has begun. This week, some final decisions will be made about the look of a major expansion to the convention center.

The BOK Center was the biggest addition to Tulsa's convention space, but another key part of attracting big conventions to town is another new building just up the street.

Though the site looks bare, the convention center expansion is well underway; it's just that most of the work so far has been underground.

Machines installed piers for the steel structure and the next job is a tunnel to connect the old and new buildings.

"There is a connection utility tunnel from the existing convention center over to the new ballroom so they can transport items during events," said Jason Martin of Tulsa Vision Builders.

The $50 million dollar project is part of the Vision 2025 tax plan. It will complement the existing convention space by adding the largest convention center ballroom in the state.

"There's about 90,000 square foot building going up, about 30,000 square foot ballroom, and it will have seven meeting rooms and kitchen, staging area in it," said Martin.

While the heavy work on the expansion gets underway, workers will start remodeling the existing convention center.

The extent of the renovation and plans for modifying the entrances both depend on decisions that are yet to be made. But one thing is certain, according to Martin, the expansion will be done within a year.

"They are scheduling the open in early 2010, that's when they're trying to book events," said Martin.

And the old arena will remain as is with some sprucing up. That according to Tulsa Vision Builders is to keep a second venue that should help Tulsa attract NCAA basketball tournaments to Tulsa.