|Athletics Center Overview|
|The Athletics Center is a truly comprehensive sports complex,
and its auxiliary facilities are a model for all other venues in the
region. In addition to being the home of historic
Gallagher-Iba Arena and
Eddie Sutton Court, the Center features an academic counseling center, training
facilities for all sports, a strength and conditioning center, expanded
offices, a recruiting lounge, an auxiliary gym, wrestling facilities
and the Heritage Hall museum. Heritage
Hall features more than 5,000 square feet of displays highlighting
OSU's many athletic and scholastic achievements.
A total of 14 luxury suites stretch across the west side of the facility, overlooking both the basketball court and the football field. These are the only luxury skybox suites that allow fans to view basketball or wrestling from the east side and football games from the west side. At 30 feet above the ground, the concourse level is illuminated with natural light from large window walls, where visitors to the arena can look out across Stillwater in all directions.
One of the nation's largest collegiate strength and conditioning facilities (30,000 square feet of space including the weight room and oval running track) is housed in the first level of the Athletic Center. The sports medicine facility boasts a cutting-edge Hydroworks Therapy Pool with a variable-speed treadmill for student-athletes to rehab injuries safely and effectively by running in water.
Construction commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on January 12, 1999 and was completed in December of 2000 at a cost of $55 million. Funding of the project was a total team effort, supported by Oklahoma State students (through a self-imposed activity fee), private donations, loyal season-ticket holders and a use tax voted on by the citizens of Stillwater.
“It was a great location,” said Gary Sparks, principal in charge with SPARKS Sports. “It was my idea that we should expand and modernize the facility that we had and make it a first-class facility without going offsite. Also, at the same time, we really needed to update the football stadium.”
What was once the basketball arena now has been expanded to serve other athletics as well as linked to the adjacent football field, creating one huge sports complex.
“We kept all the history and tradition on campus, but modernized and doubled it in size,” Sparks said.
The arena grew from 60 feet high to 120 feet high and capacity was increased from 6,381 to seat 13,611, making it the largest sports arena in the state of Oklahoma at the time.
“I think its the first time anybody has done what we did by building up and around an existing arena,” said Sparks. “We didn’t miss any ball games. All the time this was going on, we were playing games inside the arena.”
Designers were able to save the original white maple wood court, which was installed in 1938. While preserving the history of the old arena was key, the new Athletics Center starts a new chapter for the University.
“Its been a big hit,” Sparks said. “Its a great place to watch basketball. Its very intimidating for the other team, and that’s what its all about.”