Mother Nature harmonizes with an urban scene at Spokane Convention Center in Washington, fresh off the completion of a 90,000-sq.-ft. expansion in February. Its new elements (a team effort by Garco Construction, ALSC Architects and LMN Architects) are well-suited to the outdoor meetings trend. The facility now has a roof deck, terrace, patio, green space and floating stage overlooking the Spokane River. Major events like the 4,000-attendee World Science Fiction Convention, which is meeting in Spokane for the first time ever this August, and the Spokane Ag Expo, which incorporated a larger setup at its event in February due to the expanded space, are two examples of the kinds of events the $55 million upgrade can attract. Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ as well as North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists’ Adventist-Laymen’s Services & Industries International Convention will also meet at the convention center this year.
Keith Backsen of Visit Spokane says the economic impact of the expansion may be as great as $120 million, though he says they won’t know for a few more years. The center now has a total of 410,000 square feet of meeting space across its lobby, three ballrooms, 39 flexible meeting rooms and 2,700-seat INB Performing Arts Center. The building is powered by 100 percent wind energy and is one of the first buildings in Spokane to become LEED certified. The expansion added 550 new windows, including floor-to-ceiling panels in the main ballroom, to increase natural light and energy efficiency throughout the space.