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Facilities Update
Jekyll Island Convention Center Meets The Needs Of Nation's Trade Shows

The new Jekyll Island Convention Center will prove to be the ideal venue for the more than 2,500 trade shows held annually in the United States. As the only oceanside, beachfront convention center in the Southeast, the state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facility is capable of handling the needs of any trade fair, from an international boat show to a bridal expo.

Architectural design firm HHCP crafted the center’s central room, the Atlantic Ballroom, to be versatile for any size crowd. At 45,000 sq. ft., the ballroom can be a single, grand room, or divided into two, three or four sections. When utilized as a single room, the venue holds up to 6,900 individuals in a standing reception; a seated reception can accommodate up to 2,800 attendees. The flexible nature of the venue and its ample open space make the facility perfect for any variety of events. A back entry to the ballroom is even wide and tall enough for a tractor trailer to enter.

To create a streamlined atmosphere, the Atlantic Ballroom features power outlets hidden under carpeted flooring panels, with several dozen electric outlets spread throughout the ballroom to offer plenty of connectivity options. Jekyll Island Convention Center can be adjusted to the needs of small and large trade shows, including erecting a stage and providing space for smaller meetings.

The Convention Center also features 7,800 sq. ft. of oceanfront meeting space, with five breakout meeting rooms and Ben Porter Salon on the east side of the building. Five additional meeting rooms are located on the western marsh-side portion of the facility and provide views of the island’s lush maritime forest.

The forest and beaches of Jekyll Island played a major role in designing the facility. Thoughtful details that reflect the delicate ecosystem of the island can be seen throughout the building, such as the sea turtle hatchlings etched into the oceanside floor and the restroom tiles which mimic the colors of Jekyll’s pristine ocean and marshes.

Beyond mirroring the environment around it, designers of the Jekyll Island Convention Center likewise were conscious to ensure a top priority of construction included preservation of the natural world. The building features the most modern eco-minded technology available, from solar panels to an 80-gallon cistern for storing rainwater. These elements come together to help the building earn silver-level LEED certification.

Convention center guests are also afforded plenty of outdoor gathering space to take in the serene Jekyll Island setting. A large fire pit is situated near the oceanside meeting room gallery, as is a large pavilion perfect for events near the sandy beaches. Picnic tables, benches and wooden lounge chairs also dot the oceanfront venue.

“This facility is a major point of pride not only for Jekyll Island but for the state as a whole,” said Bob Krueger, chair of the Jekyll Island Authority Board. “Immaculate thought and care was put into all the details of creating this impressive structure. This venue is efficient, effective and utterly state-of-the-art. The diligence taken to plan out this facility is evident in every square foot. We are extremely proud of this end product.”

Already, the Jekyll Island Convention Center is gaining attention on a statewide and national scale. More than 200 conventions have already been booked for the center through 2016, which will generate more than $40 million in economic impact for the State of Georgia. Historic levels of meetings and conventions are projected to be achieved in 2013 and beyond.

The positive impact the center will have on tourism is already being seen in an uptick in revenues by hotels in the area, as businesses across the Southeast become more aware of all that Jekyll Island offers. This trend is expected to continue and even accelerate after the center opens in May.

Officially opened on May 20, with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the Jekyll Island Convention Center is the first of several projects to be completed on the oceanfront property. Two new hotels as well as a Beach Village retail market will also be constructed adjacent to the convention center. Hyatt Place is set to complete a 135-room, limited-service hotel by summer 2013, and Westin recently announced its plan to build a 200-room, full-service hotel by the following summer.

“Many anticipate the new Jekyll Island Convention Center will be a shining star for the state of Georgia,” said Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority. “This facility, augmented by the spectacular Great Dunes Park, the planned Westin Hotel and Hyatt Place, and the unrivaled charm of the Historic District, sets Jekyll Island apart to become one of the premier meeting destinations, not only in the state and in the Southeast, but in the county.”
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