Close to Home

If there’s one thing the Oklahoma City Thunder knows, it’s how to hit the ground running. So, it only makes sense that their next move would be to build a state-of-the-art training facility that pushes the boundaries of not only athletic training, but hands-on medical experience.

The INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Facility is scheduled to open just prior to the 2010-11 season and is being built right next door to one of Oklahoma’s best communities – Edmond.

Located right off Britton Road near the Broadway Extension, the new training facility will stand as a reminder that our great state is headed in a very good direction. Since the new facility is so close to Edmond, when the team begins practicing there, our residents will be seeing a lot more of our NBA stars out and about.

The facility will include everything you can expect for an NBA team, with a few surprises. There are two full basketball courts, a hydrotherapy area, a 27-seat classroom and a dining room. HydroWorx designed an in-ground thermal and polar plunge and an underground water treadmill. Topping it all off, the facility is designated as an Olympic training site for archery and volleyball.

The classroom will give coaches, students, players and staff access to state-of-the-art video and computer technology to encourage team development and strategic planning through team film sessions.

No training facility for hard working athletes would be complete without a world-class dining room, which aids in the nutritional aspect of physical training. Complete with a nutrition bar that has all the necessary supplements, protein shakes, juices and water, the dining room is sure to be a big hit with players.
“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 publicly funded facility will cost about $10 million, due to a one-cent sales tax which was approved by Oklahoma City voters in March of 2008. The cost came in under budget by about $5 million. Thunder will pay $100,000 annually in rent to Oklahoma City, but Edmond expects an increase in restaurant and store traffic.

“Of course, we are pleased to have such a quality facility located near our city borders, said Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas. “When quality projects come to or near our city, we reap the benefits of increased visits to our shops and restaurants, and to our other amenities.”

The whole project is also in association with Edmond’s very own University of Central Oklahoma. In a joint effort between the Thunder, UCO, and INTEGRIS Health, the new facility will be an integral factor for the newly developed Master of Science in Athletic Training degree, which is the only one of its kind in the state and one of only 20 in the nation. The 45-hour program is an entry-level degree which provides graduate students a hands-on experience and skills needed to meet the Board of Certification eligibility.

“In this program we focus on two forms of learning – cognitive and psychomotor. Our students are not only in a classroom, but also in the field getting real life experience with real life athletes.” said Jeff McKibbin, director of the Athletic Training Education Program at UCO. “There are so many things students need when they go out into their field. Every instrument and tool in a doctor’s office must be trained, so everything we teach our students we try to have our hands on. We are very, very thankful and very shocked.”

“One benefit of many is eventually having internships and scholarships through the Thunder,” said Judy Reyes-Henderson, development manager for the UCO College of Education and Professional Studies. “It’s win-win for the community and for the Thunder to have the facility so close to Edmond.”

“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 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.”

Get ready, because the Thunder is dead set on shaking things up very soon. Bringing athletes, coaches, teachers and students together under one unifying venture, The INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Facility is a great step forward into a bright future for our Edmond community.

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