Convention Center on Schedule

The Bridgeport News

Thursday, December 16, 2004

by Jeff Toquinto, NEWS EDITOR

Despite proposed changes to the design of Bridgeport’s multi-million dollar convention center that will be located at the Charles Pointe development, City Manager Kim Haws said the timetable for the project will not change.

On Monday, Haws told members of the Bridgeport City Council that VOA, Inc., of  Chicago, the architects handling the design of the structure, have proposed changes to help keep the project within budget.  Haws and city officials were adamant that VOA keep the cost within the $3 million the city has budgeted for the project.

“They are looking at doing away with some of the design relating to the entrance of the building and to modify some of the awnings and porches,” said Haws.  “The changes are to the outside.  There are no changes internally.”

Haws said he has asked VOA to return an itemized list of what’s being removed and what it would cost to put those items back in place.  Once he receives the list, Haws said he’ll see if the City Council wants to  allocate additional funds to reintroduce the items being planned for elimination.

The list could be back later this week, said Haws.  If that happens, it could be included as part of the Dec. 27 meeting’s agenda.

Regardless of what happens to the design, Haws said he expects the final design to be to the city by the middle of January.  That would allow the city to put the project out to bid in mid-February and complete the structure by mid–to late- 2005 as planned.  The hope is to open the same time as the new $8.7 million Wingate Inn which is in the early construction phase  The city’s convention center will be connected to the Wingate Inn.