Stephanie Curran, who started her career with the INB Performing Arts Center as a catering manager in 1995, will lead operations of the Spokane Public Facilities District.
“It’s really exciting times for downtown Spokane,” Curran, the next chief executive officer of the corporation overseeing the performing arts center, Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Arena, said Wednesday. “I just feel like there’s so much on the horizon for Spokane as a community.”
Curran, 50, will take over Feb. 1 for Kevin Twohig, who has led the district for the past 16 years. She currently serves as general manager of the convention center.
Curran praised Twohig’s work on two expansions of the convention center: the recent $50 million overhaul that provides an additional 90,000 square feet of space at the facility and the revamping of a portion of the Centennial Trail system on the south bank of the Spokane River downtown.
“We are what his vision was,” Curran said. “I feel like Kevin has laid a really great foundation.”
In a statement, Twohig praised the board’s selection of Curran. She was selected from a field of 100 applicants garnered in a nationwide search by the Tennessee consulting firm Venue Solutions Group, according to a news release from the Spokane Public Facilities District.
“I am very pleased to see Stephanie emerge as the successful candidate from what was an extensive national search process,” Twohig said in the statement. “I have great confidence in her ability to lead the district.”
The district generated $14 million in revenue last year across the three facilities, and is embarking on upgrades at both the arena and performing arts center. Garco Construction and NAC Architecture are finishing a $4 million renovation at the arena that includes adding additional room for metal detectors, the food court and an additional suite. Next year, the performing arts center will be closed for six months as crews complete a $20 million renovation of the facility, which was built in 1974.
The work on the performing arts center will make the auditorium accessible for visitors with disabilities and overhaul the center’s heating and cooling system, Curran said.
“It’s a pretty big thing to take on, but we’re going to do it,” she said.
The district is also working toward an agreement with the city of Spokane and the area’s hotels and motels to fund at least partial completion of a planned sports complex near downtown.
“We’re all strategizing now how to make this a reality, financially,” Curran said. “It’s looking very optimistic.”
The Gonzaga University graduate and Los Angeles native said her goal is to keep the district in good financial shape and the facilities at the forefront of event planners’ minds.
“We are a great economic driver,” Curran said. “What we do brings money into the city, and it’s the best kind of money, because visitors come, they spend their money and they leave. That’s the best kind of economic impact we can generate.”
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