OSSAA signs five-year contract extension with “The Big House”; new State Fair Park coliseum proposed
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has announced a five-year contract extension with “The Big House.” It will keep basketball and wrestling state championships at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
OSSAA has hosted basketball tournaments at the Jim Norick Arena, “The Big House,” for 54 years.
“It was really important for us to remain at State Fair Park because we understand the history and tradition that goes with playing at The Big House,” said OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson. “We still have people who come to our tournament today who came many, many years ago. There’s a connection between people of all ages.”
According to State Fair Park officials, they have proposed building a $95 million replacement coliseum using money from the MAPS4 program due to the current arena “nearing the end of its useful life.”
“Unfortunately, the building is on its last legs,” said Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. President & CEO Tim O’Toole. “The average life cycle of a public sports arena is 30 to 40 years. The Jim Norick Arena is 54 years old and needs to be retired. With voter support, we can serve future generations of athletes and provide an economic boost for Oklahoma City.”
“We think building a new coliseum is huge, not only for Oklahoma City, but to maintain the tradition of playing in ‘The Big House’ — a newer and improved ‘Big House.’” Jackson said. “I don’t think we’d lose any of the tradition we’ve gained over the last 50 years; it comes from being on that property. Being able to play in a new, shinier arena would make it even more special.”
Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. operates the facility on behalf of the City of Oklahoma City.