156 157 $54million.Combined,the two convention centers held 291 events during 2016,which accounted for more than 2.2 million visitors. The KECemploys about 250 people and has several ven- ues.The Exposition Center,itself,has 1.2million square feet of total indoor space,which includes twoarenas: FreedomHall, best knownasabasketball arena; andBroadbentArena,a6,600 seat,multi-purpose facilityusedfor equestrianeventsandfair- groundtypeactivities; aswell as theKentuckyKingdom,former- lyknownasSixFlagsKentuckyKingdom,a63-acreamusement park.“The total campus isabout500acreswith19,000parking spaces,”saysRittenberry.“So it’squitea large facility; it’sactually thesixth largest conventionfacilityinthecountry.” TheKECplayshost toamixof tradeshowsandassociation events.“Someof it’sagriculture,someof it’sentertainment,” Rittenberryadds.“Wedoeverythingfromconcerts to livestock shows to farmmachinery shows.We have a lot of youth events–youth basketball,volleyball,cheerleading,as well as KENTUCKY VENUES VEXRobotics,which is the international youth robotics competition.” InMayof 2014,the Kentucky legislature passed a bill authorizing the expansion of the KICC,to be financed with a combination of bed tax revenues and state bonds.The renovation designwas unveiled in the fall of 2015 and construction has just begun thisAugust. “The downtown Convention Center has been closed since last summer andwill be closed through July 2018,almost a two-year project,expanding our exhibit space fromabout 140,000 to over 200,000 square feet of continuous space,and adding a 40,000-square- foot ballroom,”Rittenberry reports.“It’s a $207million project-basicallya complete renovation.About 70 percent of the Center was taken all thewaydown to the slab,to rebuild it from the ground up.There is about 30 percent that was a little newer than the part being replaced,and that part will be renovated for the interior tomatch the newly-built space.So,it will be a continuous feel from the old space to the new.” When complete,the newKICCwill have the latest in technological amenities,as well as in sustainable best practices.“We’re building out a full,high-densityWi- FI network that will cover the entire building; all the lobbyareas,all themeeting spaces,all the breakout rooms,the ballroom,and the trade showfloor,”says Rittenberry.“It has been a green project–80 percent of the products that were removed from it were recy- cled,from the concrete to the steel to the copper.It will open as a LEED-Certified Silver building,andwith significant sustainabilityprograms in place.” Meanwhile,the KEC is also in need of extensive upgrades.FreedomHall,which dates back to the mid-1950s,needs at least $15millionworth of work- For more than 20 years, Ungerboeck has been a proud partner of Kentucky Venues. We applaud all the great work you do for your clients and your community. TRUSTED BY THE WORLD’S TOP VENUES