CIB OKs $2.6M in carpet upgrades for convention center

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The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County plans to spend about $2.6 million to replace all 370,000 square feet of carpeting at the Indiana Convention Center.

Members voted 8-1 Monday to fund the renovation in an effort to make the transition between the aging center and its new addition seamless. The 254,000-square-foot expansion in downtown Indianapolis is set to open next month.

The new carpeting should be installed by May and will replace floor coverings that are up to 14 years old.

Don Welsh, CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, said the upgrade is integral to promoting the building to prospective clients whose convention needs don’t warrant use of the new space.

“It will bring parity to the two buildings,” he said. “I think this would be one of the most prudent investments you could make when you take into consideration the $1 billion [spent] between the two buildings.”

Welsh was referring to the $720 million price tag of Lucas Oil Stadium and the $275 million convention center addition. With the two facilities, the ICVA now will have 1.2 million square feet of convention space available to market.

CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood said some of the carpeting in the existing center is so worn that CIB staff avoids showing those parts of the building to potential clients.

CIB board member Michael McQuillen cast the lone dissenting vote.

“I don’t get the argument we’ll lose clients because they don’t want to be in the old space because it doesn’t have new carpet,” he said.

But fellow CIB board member Douglas Brown argued the carpeting will need to be replaced at some point, so “if we’re going to have to bite this bullet anyway, let’s go ahead and do it.”

CIB, which operates major city sports facilities as well as the convention center, budgeted $5.8 million for capital improvements this year.

The cash-strapped CIB continues to improve its finances by growing revenue and trimming expenses. Through October, the organization is $14.4 million ahead of budget.

Levengood said the carpeting would be bought through a state purchasing program to ensure CIB receives the most competitive price. CIB will reimburse the state for the expense, Levengood said.


  • Kudos
    This is an absolutely vital piece of the convention center expansion that had to be resolved. If there is a ridiculously apparent line between "new" and "old" any client in the "old" portion of the center will feel like a second-class citizen. This building must work as a whole, and this a huge step toward giving continuity between each section (this is actually the 4th expansion). I applaud the CIB for making cuts in other places and moving this project forward because conventions bring real money and jobs to this city.
  • Yeah, cause that $750 million football stadium has done little to help Indy and it won't be a major draw to help fill the expanded convention center.
  • Pay No Attention to the Wizard Behind the Curtain
    Seems to me that David Frick at the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority should be getting the bill, not the CIB.

    People seems to forget his organization short changed the convention center when they cut the original $500 million convention center expansion budget to $250 million and shifted it into a $750 million football stadium.

    He and his organization should be getting as much press as the CIB and ICVA.

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  1. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  2. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

  3. Good try, Mr. Irwin, but I think we all know the primary motivation for pursuing legal action against the BMV is the HUGE FEES you and your firm expect to receive from the same people you claim to be helping ~ taxpayers! Almost all class action lawsuits end up with the victim receiving a pittance and the lawyers receiving a windfall.

  4. Fix the home life. We're not paying for your child to color, learn letters, numbers and possible self control. YOU raise your children...figure it out! We did. Then they'll do fine in elementary school. Weed out the idiots in public schools, send them well behaved kids (no one expects perfection) and watch what happens! Oh, and pray. A mom.

  5. To clarify, the system Cincinnati building is just a streetcar line which is the cheapest option for rail when you consider light rail (Denver, Portland, and Seattle.) The system (streetcar) that Cincy is building is for a downtown, not a city wide thing. With that said, I think the bus plan make sense and something I shouted to the rooftops about. Most cities with low density and low finances will opt for BRT as it makes more financial and logistical sense. If that route grows and finances are in place, then converting the line to a light rail system is easy as you already have the protected lanes in place. I do think however that Indy should build a streetcar system to connect different areas of downtown. This is the same thing that Tucson, Cincy, Kenosha WI, Portland, and Seattle have done. This allows for easy connections to downtown POI, and allows for more dense growth. Connecting the stadiums to the zoo, convention center, future transit center, and the mall would be one streetcar line that makes sense.