I picked up my firebox from the welder last night and it looks great! Have to give it to my Dad who suggested I look into welding it before moving forward with the other options. Obviously I won't know anything until I light her up the first time, but for $75 bucks I am happy with the first step so far. I added a few pics below of the end product in case you want to take a look:
Now I just need to decide which gasket (or sealant) to use in between the firebox and smoker body and it's time to light a fire and make some Q!!!