TAHLEQUAH — High school basketball is something that you’ve said that you would like to get a hold of. Are you working on getting postseason games or perhaps hosting a regular-season tournament?
I think both are possibilities. I’ve spoken briefly to our two assistant basketball coaches Jon Havens (men) and Matt Cole (women) and trying to get a sense about their understanding of the recruiting trail and the possibilities of having some sort of holiday-type basketball tournament. And then turning that into a fundraiser for the basketball program.
Will the arena also be used for trade shows and conventions?
I think what the city of Tahlequah did with the sales tax initiative to add the community center, I know — I haven’t been in any specific meetings — but I’ve heard around campus, if there is something in the date fits into the proper place or there were constituent groups that wanted to utilize the actual event center itself for that type of activity, certainly it could take place in there, as well.
Will the basketball court be permanent? Or will it be portable?
The actual court that was purchased is a portable floor, but as the project evolved we expanded the recess of the floor. So we’ll have — or we hope to have — additional square footage around the existing court. The court that we have in storage now will not fully — obviously, it’s a regulation court — but there are sections around the court that will still be concrete. We’re studying the feasibility of adding to the floor, where the entire bowl would be wood. But at this point, the court is portable.
As far as you’re concerned, the best feature of the arena is...?
From an athletic standpoint and a fan-experience standpoint, I think they worked up plans to make sure the fan experience is top notch. There are no real wide open corners. The bleachers and the mezzanine level are going to be in close proximity to the court, and when you have a positive fan experience that obviously bleeds over and creates a positive student-athlete experience.