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Facilities Update
San Antonio Convention Center Announces $40 Million Renovation

San Antonio’s architecturally stunning Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is unveiling $40 million in renovations. Known for its location on the banks of the River Walk, the convention center is located in the heart of downtown; close to thousands of hotel rooms, shops, restaurants and historic sites. Now, with new event spaces and energy efficient additions, the convention center is more inspiring than ever.

Unique, new event spaces are already attracting a wide array of groups. The Lonesome Dove Room, which can accommodate up to 500, is inspired by a story as big and bold as Texas. Filled with fine Western art and rustic elegance, this fabulous new venue flows out onto a river patio, seamlessly transforming into an al fresco setting for private groups and events.  Scheduled for completion this fall, Plaza Acequia will be the convention center’s newest outdoor event space. Its 20,000 usable square feet will accommodate up to 1,500 and immerse delegates in the culture and beauty of downtown San Antonio. The plaza is named after the acequia (irrigation system) that colonial Spain built through this site in the 1700s. Exquisite design features will reference the historic nature of the area.

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center has always been known for its outstanding facilities and indigenous design features. Among its unique and varied facility offerings is the 2,400-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre. In 2011, the theatre reopened after an extensive $26 million refurbishment. Perfect for general assemblies, corporate presentations, performing arts events and concerts, the Lila Cockrell Theatre offers three levels of seating and the latest in technical support. Wide rows and plush seating create a comfortable and enjoyable setting. All this, plus upscale finishes and local artwork makes the theatre a unique and memorable setting.

Eco-friendly improvements have also been an important investment for the convention center. Adding solar film to the center’s many windows is conserving energy usage while allowing delegates to indulge in spectacular views of the River Walk, HemisFair Park and the Tower of the Americas. Energy-efficient lighting has been installed throughout the complex, and new digital wayfinding signs enhance customer service while reducing paper waste. These small steps will have a huge payback for San Antonio and distinguishes the city as a place that invests in the generations to come.

San Antonio is always looking for ways to make meetings more convenient for meeting professionals. One way the city has done this is through adding an official Visitor Information Center (VIC) within the walls of the convention center. This VIC offers a knowledgeable San Antonio staff ready to answer attendees’ questions and point them in the right direction. Another enhancement to the convention center is a new, technologically advanced electronic door access system. Meeting professionals will now be issued a single card key to open all their assigned rooms, instead of being issued a hard key for each meeting room. The center is also installing magnetic locks on all exterior doors as well as technology to disclose which doors are open and closed. With this system, all exterior doors can be controlled from one central location, providing an even more secure building. This security access system represents the most comprehensive electronic door access system in any convention center in the U.S.

These are just a few of the many renovations at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Other improvements include new carpeting, exterior upgrades, interior digital event boards and meeting room signage, as well as fresh paint on all interior walls. The total investment of over $40 million in 2010 and 2011 is evidence of San Antonio’s commitment to offering exceptional convention facilities in one of the most dynamic destinations in the country.

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