Pasadena Convention Center Celebrates Expansion Milestone

CAROL ANDREWS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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Pasadena, CA – A celebration to commemorate the completed steel structure for the Pasadena Convention Center expansion took place on June 25 at the construction site. Pasadena City Mayor Bill Bogaard participated in the topping off ceremony along with Mike Ross,  CEO of the Pasadena Center Operating Company (PCOC); James Canfield, executive director of the PCOC; Nan Marchand, executive director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau; as well as other city officials, members of the construction team, community leaders and press.

The expansion is scheduled for completion on March 1, 2009, a month ahead of schedule and in time for the 32nd Annual California Police Chiefs Association Conference and Trade Show, which will be the first event in the expanded facility, March 2-4, 2009.

“The convention center is very important to the community as it is centrally located and will bring increased business to city shops and restaurants, as well as to nearby hotels,” said Canfield.

As part of the $150 million expansion, the underground exhibit hall, built in 1973, was completely demolished. To accommodate events during construction, a 26,650 square foot temporary exhibit hall was erected. When completed, the new convention center will offer 80,000 square feet of exhibit space, double the amount of existing exhibit space. In addition to a new 53,498 square foot exhibit hall that is divisible into two halls, the expansion will provide 25 breakout rooms and a new 25,000 square foot ballroom.

The expansion project also includes interior and exterior renovations of the two-level conference building, which is adjacent to the convention center. The conference building offers 28,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.

The entire expansion will be funded with increased revenues generated by the larger facility and a Tourism Business Improvement District assessment on hotel and motel revenue.

One requirement of the expansion project was that the design be consistent with the architecture of the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The architect, Fentress Bradburn Architects, is experienced in designing buildings surrounded by historic structures. The firm will incorporate the Civic Auditorium’s classical design into some of the architectural details of the new buildings.

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the conference building have remained fully operational throughout construction.

Going Green

Canfield is confident that the expanded facility will receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The convention center will meet its goals in the areas of water use, electricity, recycling, and traffic reduction. With low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, low-water landscaping, and storm water run-off used for irrigation, overall water consumption will be reduced significantly. The expanded convention center will feature high-efficiency lighting and equipment, as well as an automated control system for managing electrical devices.

Also, through a major retrofit, including a new, energy-efficient central plant, the convention center will operate without adding to the city’s electrical grid, even though it will add significant square footage. In the area of recycling, 75% of the demolition materials from the expansion were recycled. All metal and steel was recycled, and the concrete rubble was ground up and used as fill. In addition, an aggressive recycling program will be implemented in the new facility. For employees, the expanded convention center will include bike storage and shower/changing facilities, preferred parking for carpools and vanpools, and incentives for those using public transportation.

Finally, in a related development, because of its efforts in “Sustainability and Green Practices,” Pasadena is one of 12 cities to be featured for “Best Practices in Municipal Government” at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Annual Conference, September 21-24 in Richmond, VA.

Reach James Canfield at (626) 793-2122 or jcanfield@pasadenacenter.com