Graybar Forms Logistics Hub for Arena-Sized Network Installment

Bok Center

In 2005, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a city on the brink of revitalization. The city had adopted Vision 2025, an urban economic-development and capital-improvement plan, and was on the road to building a first-rate, multipurpose facility and convention center.

Nearly $242 million later, the new BOK Center and refurbished Tulsa Convention Center bear witness to the city’s effective urban planning.

Award-winning architect Ceasar Pelli designed the iconic BOK Center, a 19,000-seat arena wrapped in spiraling glass and steel panels. Inside, it houses an impressive collection of regional and Native American art, 14 concession stands, and a stunning, 50,000-pound suspended scoreboard encircled by eight rectangular and two wrap-around high-definition screens.

The renovated convention center complements the facility, with high-ceiling exhibit and conference rooms, an assembly hall with a built-in stage, and its own 8, 900-seat arena. The site also boasts Oklahoma’s largest ballroom.

Urban amenities for generations to come, these facilities demanded a sturdy, state-of-the-art network backbone to support a nearly limitless array of data, security and audio/visual technologies.

Pinpointing the Perfect Supplies

The city turned to technology engineering firm Baxsys Inc. to design a complex structured cabling and security system that could meet the BOK Center’s intense technology needs. When time came for the bidding, Graybar – joined by key cabling supplier, Belden – stepped up to the plate with a competitive logistics plan.

"We have a strong relationship with Graybar’s Tulsa branch," said Baxsys Technology Consultant Brad Baxter. "Whether it’s providing samples, answering technical questions or bringing the right product to the right place, they’ve proven they can really deliver."

Baxter designed a future-ready network that would help reduce costs over the life of the facility. The team trimmed expenses further by converging all of the data, audiovisual and security systems over one IP network.

"When I create a design, I want something that is flexible and can last a long time," said Baxter. "Graybar coordinated manufacturer site visits that helped us explore the different types of fiber, cabinets and racks available."

Aesthetics added another dimension to the decision making. The design required all equipment be kept as hidden as possible to preserve the facility’s majestic art and architecture. With approximately 125 security cameras sprinkled throughout the facility, Baxter needed a manufacturer that could color coordinate.

Paul Hurley, Graybar’s strategic account manager, arranged a plant tour at Pelco, a leading manufacturer of HD video and security offerings. Baxter became convinced Pelco’s Endura IP platform would fit the center’s multipurpose needs, with its range of amenities suited specifically for an enterprise system.

Plus, Pelco could arrange custom color matching.

"Security cameras, access control, connectivity and cabling -- we are able to provide the whole package," said Hurley. "By working with the lead technology consultant– Baxsys – we truly filled the role of trusted advisor, managing the project between the manufacturers and the contractors, Trans-Tel Central for the BOK Center and LANlynx for the convention center."

Bringing It All Together

While Hurley managed the security needs, the Tulsa Branch, led by Graybar Account Manager John Smith, coordinated the cabling and connectivity.

"We provided just-in-time delivery by staging all the products at our Tulsa location," said John Smith.

"They had no delivery facilities on the jobsite and limited parking. By supplying the right products at the right time, we provided a huge advantage to the installers and the property management company, SMG."

SMG was so pleased with the time and cost savings from the BOK Center installation that when it came time to renovate the Tulsa Convention Center, SMG’s senior manger of technology, IJ Rosenblum, requested that they not change a thing.

"Graybar really helped move the needle," said Rosenblum. "Their strong relationships with manufacturers helped our vendors get a fair price. They demonstrated expertise in cabling and audiovisual installations, and they were instrumental in ensuring we stuck to the tight timelines."

Knowing Graybar was on board also gave Baxter the confidence to carry out his consulting duties without worrying whether the site would be well equipped for installation.

"They really do the legwork for you," he said. "You may need a product they don’t normally stock, and they will go out and find the contacts for you. This was critical in meeting the unique needs of the arena and ballroom."

Today, Tulsans gaze at the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center with an air of pride for its role in meeting the city’s Vision 2025 goals. Since its opening in fall 2008, the arena has drawn more than 1 million concertgoers and sports fans, ranking as high as No. 2 in the United States for ticket sales. The Tulsa Convention Center, with its glorious 30,000 square-foot ballroom, draws events and entertainment that continue to spur economic progress for the region.


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