Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Facilities Update
Open For More Meetings - The Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Expanded Capacity of 48,000 Square Feet Meets Increased Demand
The Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA) announced recently that the $14 million retrofit project at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is complete and open for more meetings. The expansion created an additional 48,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, which includes two new glass-walled meeting rooms overlooking the Grand Lobby, an exceptional area for executive meetings, presentations and receptions. It also included the installation of state-of-the-art Skyfold Walls in East and West Registration as well as relocation and conversion of staff offices into meeting space outfitted with custom carpeting, upgraded lighting, electrical and sound systems. The new flexible spaces created through the retrofit integrate seamlessly with the Center’s existing design and finishes.

“We saved millions of dollars by retrofitting within our existing Center instead of building new, additional meeting space,” said WCSA president CEO Gregory A. O’Dell. “This also improves our ability to host larger simultaneous or overlapping events.” The Skyfold Wall provides a unique and dramatic approach to subdividing space. Skyfold partitions are fully automated and fold vertically into the ceiling. With a simple turn of a key, the innovative Skyfold Walls retract down from the ceiling to quietly transform the area within two minutes into nine different meeting room configurations.  “We applaud all of the staff and construction workers who helped bring this project to fruition,” said O’Dell. “The on-time and under budget expansion could not been done without dedicated team work.”

Additionally, the Authority stayed true to their sustainable commitments by using 90% of the existing ceilings and walls diverting 17,200 cubic feet of waste from landfills. The retrofit project increases the Convention Center’s product offering, creating highly flexible space that can be used for meetings, exhibits or banquets, all steps from the Grand Lobby. Currently, the Center boasts 198,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 703,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and 52,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space. Columbia | Forrester Joint Venture, a Certified Business Enterprise that includes Washington-based Columbia Enterprises and Forrester Construction Co. of Rockville, MD performed the construction.