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|Santa Fe’s eco-friendly new convention center is open!|
|Written by Exhibit City News|
|Sunday, October 05 2008 11:21|
SANTA FE, N.M. – The Santa Fe Convention Center held its official opening Sept. 25 – the only date the new, environmentally friendly facility wasn’t already busy and booked!
Even as finishing touches on the building were taking place, the center hosted Santa Fe Mayor David Coss’s state-of-the-city speech Sept. 3 as well as several Santa Fe Fiesta events – before launching an active fall schedule of meetings and multi-day conferences. After more than 20 years of community discussion about the need for a new convention center, dozens of city meetings, endless input, numerous design reviews and 22 months of construction, Santa Fe’s newest and greenest municipal building is assuming its intended role at last.
The new venue is divided into two buildings: the Community Building on the east end and the Convention Center on the west side. On the ground floor of the Community Building are a new box office, the 2,500-square-foot “Handcrafted in Santa Fe: A Community Gallery” art space, and a business center for the use of meeting and event planners. Upstairs are four meeting rooms and an outdoor terrace/event space.
The box office will sell tickets for events at the Lensic Performing Arts Center and other venues in town. The gallery space will be operated by the Santa Fe Arts Commission and will display the work of Santa Fe artists not currently represented by other galleries in Santa Fe.
The upstairs meeting rooms include the Tesuque boardroom, featuring hardwood floors, a handmade 16-place table, its own fireplace and a private outdoor terrace. The three other meetings rooms, the Ohkay Owingeh, Nambe and Pojoaque rooms, can be used as one large space, or they can be separated into individual meeting spaces. These four rooms, named for local Native American tribes, have their own dedicated data lines, and the whole building is served by high-speed, wireless Internet connection.
All of the second-story outdoor floors of the Community Building “float,” allowing water to pass through to a lower collection area that feeds the building’s 45,000-gallon water-catchment tanks. The wide-open secondfloor terrace has raised planters that provide cooling for the roof and additional water collection. Although there are canals (for roof drainage), virtually no water runoff from either building is anticipated under normal conditions. All drainage will be captured and used for landscape irrigation.
The larger building is the Convention Center. Entrances from Marcy and Grant St. open into a spacious lobby with a two-story ceiling, fireplace and custom-made furniture. The Convention & Visitors Bureau’s information area is just off the lobby, with the bureau’s administrative offices behind it.
The Sweeney Ballroom is the heart of the convention center, with 18,000 square feet of space, dividable by moveable walls into five individual areas. The entire space can be configured in many different ways and has a removable stage, large AV monitors and adjacent loading docks. Off the ballroom are three kitchens: two large facilities with walk-in freezers, multiple ovens, and six-burner stoves; and one smaller kitchen for groups of less than 300.
Seven additional meeting rooms are located in the convention center building: the Coronado, DeVargas, Peralta, Lamy, O’Keeffe, Milagro and Kearny rooms. Each has its own pulldown video screen and overhead projector, plus data lines.
In keeping with Santa Fe’s reputation as an internationally recognized art center, both buildings will feature extensive artwork, much of it sourced through the New Mexico Art in Public Places project. When installation is completed, the center will display more than $450,000 of original art throughout the two buildings.
Extensive measures were taken to minimize greenhouse gas emissions during construction and future operation of the building. They include: three recycling centers located inside the buildings; multiple water stations (provided with compostable cups to discourage plastic water bottles); occupancy lighting sensors and extensive natural light in the rooms; and nonvolatile carpet and paint.
Light fixtures from the old convention center lobby were saved and have been installed in the new building, and 65,000 bricks recycled from the old center are being used in the new center’s outdoor areas. Moreover, 88 percent of the demolition was recycled and 75 percent of new construction waste will be recycled.
The new center is located in the heart of historic downtown Santa Fe, surrounded by museums, attractions, restaurants and shopping. It’s also within easy walking distance of 1,500 guestrooms, which represent many of the city’s finest hotels, inns, and B&B’s. Attractive, adaptable, and environmentally accountable, the center launches a new era of meetings, conferences and events in Santa Fe.