August 31, 2016

Convention Center Construction Passes Halfway Mark

The Greater Columbus Convention Center has rounded the bend in its expansion and renovation project, ending August more than halfway to completion.

While much remains to be done, the transformation is more evident each day, both inside the Convention Center and from the street.

“Twelve of the 20 project renovation phases are complete and the north expansion is about 48 percent complete,” said Tom Simko, project executive of the Corna Kokosing/Elford Construction Management Team. “So we’re wholly 50-plus percent complete.”

Corna Kokosing and Elford, Inc. are collaborating on the construction piece of the $125 million, 22-month project. LMN Architects is partnering with Schooley Caldwell Associates on the architectural work.

The project is the largest of its kind in the city, touching 1.6 million square feet of space. The project will result in 103,000 additional square feet of space, with 37,000 square feet of that devoted to additional exhibition space.

A number of meeting rooms in the North Building have already been renovated and are currently in use. Several others are on schedule for completion before Oct. 5 , Simko said. These include the new Short North Ballroom, the Tasting Room and related pre-function areas, which will be completed on Sept. 10, and the B-Pod meeting rooms, which are set for completion on Oct. 5. Multiple phases in the South Building have also been completed, including the Taft,  Franklin, Union and Presidential  meeting room phases.

Exterior streetscape and hardscape work has begun along High Street and the façade restoration work there has been completed, Simko said. Additionally, all the exhibit hall lighting has been replaced with state-of-the-art LED lighting.

Throughout the renovation and expansion, the Convention Center has remained open and continues to serve clients as planned. Simko attributes that to a phased approach, designed in collaboration with SMG (the Convention Center’s building manager) that took into consideration scheduled events and conventions throughout the year.

While the project includes about 200 workers on-site, Jim Smith, one of the principals of the Corna Kokosing/Elford Construction Management Team, noted that many more are working off-site in prefabrication roles, within management and for the architects and engineers on the project, totaling an estimated 285.

“These are local people,” he noted.

And local firms. More than $73 million under contract for the project is with companies based in Franklin and adjacent counties. Simko added that an 18 percent disadvantaged business participation rate has been achieved on the project, exceeding the 15 percent goal.

“We’ve achieved a 17.6 percent disadvantaged business participation on the project,” he said. “And that’s meaningful participation relative to work on the site and in the prefabrication process off-site.”

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