I would like to address the city council and anyone else making decisions on the convention center remodel. I ask that all of you put on your “practical thinking caps”!
We all know that the needs are going to be very costly. Those needs include all new carpet, lighting, air and heat, divider walls, dance floor, bathrooms and all new audio visual equipment which needs to include a whole new microphone system.
The function of this convention center has served the community of Great Bend and the surrounding communities very well through the years. As catering manager for the hotel, I worked in the convention center in many different capacities, depending on the needs of the customers.
The types of functions that have been held through the years have included conventions, meetings, weddings, family reunions, trade shows, all school reunions, women’s fairs, bridal fairs, Oral Roberts Crusade, hunting banquets, college banquets, Mexican Quinceanera’s, Polka Fest, Chamber banquets, school functions and church banquets.
Other than the divider walls, audio equipment and the sometimes not working bathrooms, the building itself has been very functional. I guess my point is that you can have it look nice but it still has to be functional!
You don’t need a fireplace in the lobby, higher glass ceilings, a office in the lobby and complete new entrances into the building to make it more functional. All of this would make it “look” nice but not pracical due to price. I know it would need to be brought into compliance for better handicapped accessibility and that is why they make automatic doors and ramps nowadays.
If you start moving walls and taking out space from the meetings rooms, you will ruin the function of this building. The north hall has not really been used because it has no air vents. Put heating and air conditioning up there and it could be used and you won’t need the expense of moving walls.
There still needs to be at least three areas to bring food out of the south hallway if you are serving a large group in the main hall. At least three serving lines in the hallway are needed if serving a large group like the Chamber Banquet.
If you want a whole new look and function, maybe you should look into tearing it down and starting fresh. I believe all of the tax payers in this town would like you to remember it is tax money that is going to pay for this “community center”!
Please remember we live in Great Bend, Kansas. We are not living in Kansas City, Dallas or St. Louis. We do not need a multi million dollar building that will more than likely set empty a good majority of the time. Practical and functional - remember these words!