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Expo center design details released

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – The village’s Community Development Authority got a glimpse Thursday, Jan. 17, of what the new expo center to be built at the current site of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena could look like.

Representatives of the two architectural firms the CDA approved last October for the project, Kahler Slater from Milwaukee and Populous based in Kansas City, Missouri, provided an update of the project plans.

The plans now call for an expo center that could be used as one large hall or separated into three sections.

The architects noted they put together a 90-day schedule of workshops related to the project and were around 75 days into that schedule as of the CDA’s meeting with a public forum at Ashwaubenon village hall set for 5 p.m. Feb. 4.

Todd Gralla of Populous said the expo center, upon replacing the arena, will become a “pretty major activation hub among the whole district concept that extends from Legends to Titletown.”

“It takes more than just the hall itself to put on the events,” he said.

In the design concept phase, Gralla noted the goal has been to have at least 125,000 net square feet of expo space.

“We’re breaking down the service spaces, such as toilets and concessions within the building, so that the main hall is divisible into three sections, roughly 40,000 to 45,000 square feet each, and each one of them has equal access to services,” he said. “So, if you have a smaller event, or three smaller events need three different exclusive spaces, you don’t have to go out and use shared spaces. Each of those halls has dedicated food service and bathrooms, but likewise, if you have all those dividers open, it functions extremely well as one large hall.”

Gralla said the design plans also call for the expo center to connect to the Resch Center on the east.

“Right now we’re at about 126,500 net square feet on our expo hall,” he said. “When we take into consideration the connecter and the floor of the Resch, we’re getting up to around 165,000 net square feet of at-grade leasable space.”

When adding the meeting spaces above the lobby space, Gralla said the building would have 185,000 to 190,000 net square feet of leasable space.

Village Manager Allison Swanson said the public feedback session Feb. 4 at the village hall would involve matters related to the design and cost of the expo center, also noting demolition of the arena is slated to begin in mid April with construction of the expo center set to start this coming fall and be completed in January 2021.

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