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Convention Center ahead of schedule

Sat., Feb. 11, 2006, midnight

The expansion of the Spokane Convention Center is expected to be completed two months early, on June 1, with grand-opening festivities tentatively scheduled for mid-July.

Two back-to-back mild winters have allowed crews to continue working steadily on the new 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, which will be opened to the public for tours the day after the grand opening, said Kevin Twohig, executive director of the Spokane Public Facilities District. The original projected date of completion for the $58 million expansion project was Aug. 1.

The early completion date means the general contractor, Hoffman-Bouten, will earn a $225,000 bonus. Months ago, during negotiations about who would cover $8.7 million worth of cost overruns, the PFD and its contractor agreed on a financial bonus if the building was finished 30 days ahead of schedule, Twohig said.

“In fact, they’ll get $225,000 for finishing the job 60 days early,” Twohig said. “It was purely an inducement. Getting done early has some very measurable financial savings for the district. We’ve got this big event coming up that we want to make sure we’re ready for.”

That would be the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, due to descend on Spokane in January.

Dave Garske, operations manager for Hoffman-Bouten, said the contractor has been able to finish the building ahead of time without significant amounts of overtime.

“We did not have all of our crews work 10 to 12 hour days in order to pick up time in the schedule,” Garske said. “People really worked well together.”

Starting in July, construction crews will move on to the $9 million renovation of the existing Convention Center, which will be converted into meeting rooms and ballrooms. That job is scheduled to be finished in June 2007.


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