NORMAN, Okla. – Big changes could be coming to the University of Oklahoma’s campus soon.
On Wednesday, officials announced that OU has agreed to move its men’s and women’s basketball games from the Lloyd Noble Center to the University Park development, which is located on the north side of Norman.
Our partners at OKCTalk say the Lloyd Noble Center would still be used for practice, but games would actually be played in the middle of the development.
The development would include an entertainment center, expo center, a hotel, restaurants, bars and retail stores.
The development, which would be located between Rock Creek Rd. and Tecumseh Rd., east of I-35, is expected to generate more than $15 million in tax revenue each year.
“I believe that this University North Park entertainment district plan is the type of development that will really make Norman stand out regionally,” Norman Mayor Lynne Miller said. “I see it as a natural continuation and growth of Norman Forward concepts of spurring economic development while adding to the quality of life.”
In addition to hosting OU basketball games, the arena could also host high school athletic events, live music concerts and conventions.
Once the master development plan is approved by the city council, officials say they can begin looking at funding options.
“This endeavor holds potential to benefit the entire community,” OU President David L. Boren said. “The university looks forward to playing a supporting role to benefit the residents of Norman including an agreement to play OU basketball games and to host other athletic events in the arena that would be part of the project.”
“This concept opens new doors for the Lloyd Noble Center, too, and we’re excited to explore what lies ahead,” OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione added. “With a reduced burden on the Lloyd Noble Center, we can develop opportunities to bring even more people to our community, while still serving some of the campus’s most important events.”
City leaders say they hope construction can begin in 2018.