JUL 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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J U L Y 2 0 1 7 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 61 W E S T V I R G I N I A Additional Charleston Venues • Capitol Conference Center: seats 80 for classroom-style functions and 98 for banquets • Erickson Alumni Center: on campus of West Virginia State University; 1,600-square- foot meeting room • University of Charleston: 250-seat ball- room; Riggleman Rotunda accommodates 200 • Appalachian Power Park: 4,500-seat sta- dium • Haddad Riverfront Park: 2,500-seat amphi- theater • Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences: 1,883-seat performance hall • Marriott Town Center: 352 guest rooms; accommodates 700 for receptions • Holiday Inn Express Charleston – Civic Center: space for 80 people for meetings; 100 for receptions • Embassy Suites: 253 suites; 15,000 square feet of function space • Mardi Gras Casino and Resort: accommo- dates 175 for banquets, 300 theater-style Huntington The city of Huntington took top honors and a $3 million first prize in the three-year long America's Best Communities competition, sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank, and The Weather Channel. "The prize money goes toward four projects, chosen in advance and aimed at transforming neighborhoods," said Anna Adkins, sales manager, for the Cabell-Hun- tington CVB. "The money will not go directly to helping bring in and support meetings and events, but improving our city can only move us forward on all fronts." There are 2,000 lodging rooms in the Hun- tington metro area, which is about an hour west of Charleston. "The newest hotel in the area is the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Kinetic Park, three miles from downtown. It over- looks the city and has beautiful views," Ad- kins said. "Also, the 202-room Pullman Plaza hotel will be undergoing a complete renova- tion starting this summer and will become a DoubleTree property. We're excited to have another meeting space fully updated in the downtown area." The Pullman has meeting space for 400 people. The largest event facility in Huntington is the 9,000-seat Big Sandy Superstore Confer- ence Center and Arena, with 15,000 square Being hailed as a "game changer" for meet- ing groups and the local community, a major expansion and renovation project underway at the Charleston Civic Center complex is expected to be completed in September 2018, according to General Manager John Robertson, CFE. "We will now have a facility that will make us attractive to convention business on both a regional and national level," he said. "This, coupled with major investments in our hospitality community, our central location, excellent modes of transportation and affordability make us a viable location for meetings." For meeting planners, the benefits will include expanded event spaces, state-of-the-art technology and a reori- ented facility that takes full advantage of its beautiful surroundings, Robertson explained. When completed, the entire structure will be 146,000 square feet. A new 22,000-square-foot ballroom with an 8,000-square-foot pre-function space will overlook the Elk River and eight new meeting spaces on the second floor will provide more breakout spaces than previ- ously available. For Charleston-area residents, this enhanced facility in the state's capitol city will provide a grand special event setting. "This $100 million capital im- provement project is fully funded by a City of Charleston sales tax which was initiated in 2015," Robertson pointed out. In recreating the facility, designers purposely separated spectator activities at the 13,500-seat coliseum from the events at the convention center. "Both are modern in appearance and offer state-of-the- art functionality with audio-visual and inter- net access to facilitate successful meetings," Robertson said. "The design capitalizes on our location adjacent to the Elk River, and utilizes glass in architectural design allowing for sunlight and transparency. Additionally, we are incorporating many energy-saving technologies that will allow us to be better environmental citizens." Anna Campbell, director of marketing, said the facility "will be both extremely beautiful and very functional, with a new ballroom that will rival anything seen at top-tier hotels and other event venues." In addition to the convention center, the complex includes a 738-seat Little Theater and a 13,500-seat coliseum, which has already been revamped. "We have already hosted a board meeting for a construction expo on the renovated second-floor en- trance to the coliseum, and this space re- ceived raves," Campbell said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to all the great new spaces the facility will offer." n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Charleston Civic Center Contact:

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