Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Penny for your thoughts on convention center expansion plans

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM

The Spokane Convention Center wants to hear your feedback on part two of its expansion plan.

The people in charge (Spokane Public Facilities District and its design build team Garco/ALSC/LMN) want to show off the progress they’ve made and to get your thoughts on what they have planned, so they’re gathering the public and PFD stakeholders tomorrow for a design update presentation at 1 pm in Room 205 of the convention center.

“It’s a great way to get an update directly from the designers,” says Kevin Twohig, CEO of PFD.

The expansion aims to add 90,000 feet of exhibit hall, meeting room and support space to the existing convention center. It includes a riverfront project, which will develop and remodel the public space between the building and the Spokane River.

At the presentation, Garco will update attendees on its progress with the design — now 50 percent complete — of the $41 million project. They will also present proposed design elements the public spaces around the river, including the Centennial Trail, a native garden and multiple park benches and viewing areas.

The PFD will consider comments and concerns from the public and stakeholders as it makes ready to approve a basic layout and then to submit its plans to the City of Spokane.

Twohig expects to break ground in August and to finish by December 2014. Construction will begin before design is completed, but both will move forward simultaneously.

“They’ll continue to design while construction is going and they’ll build up to the point of design approval, ” Twohig said.

This expansion continues building on SCC’s 2005 expansion plan, financed by voter-approved sales and motel taxes. The Washington State Pavilion became the original SCC in 1975. Since then, the center has grown by several additions and expansions, with heavy developments beginning in the mid-2000s.

SCC’s long-range plan, Vision 20|20, says that to stay competitive, convention centers tend to expand every decade by increments that roughly match the size of the original exhibition space. Although the new developments aren’t expected to reach a significantly larger number of groups that use the convention center, the PFD hopes the expansion will attract larger audiences. That means they’re making more space for the Spokane Golf Show, the Bridal Festival and conferences, conventions, banquets, meetings, lunches, brunches, weddings, services, shows and family reunions. 

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