Expo Hall Upgrades Continue
By: Diane Turner-Hurns
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rainbow decorations gracing concession stands may become a thing of the past later this year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
As part of the work this year to expand, paint and modernize the exhibition halls as well as update heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the concession rainbow decorations will be replaced with a new look.
“We are looking and pricing out the designer drawings and selecting materials for the concession stands now,” DES Executive Director Christopher Stephens told the Journal & Topics last week.
Between shows in Hall A on the first floor of the convention center, workers have been tearing down old bathrooms and walls to expand and rebuild the facility. Walls and ceilings will also be repainted. Next door in Hall C, much of the same will be done including ripping out existing concession stands to be replaced by new modernized concession areas.
“Once the work is completed people will be able to see a dramatic difference,” Stephens said. He said the work will continue through 2016 and is being done between shows so as not to interfere with any events being held at the DES.
“We want the DES to have a dramatic appearance when we take people from out of town on a tour of the convention center,” Stephens said. “The new renovations will provide that. We believe those holding shows here will also be pleased with the new look.”
Stephens said they are looking forward to another busy year ahead, noting that last year about 1.5 million people visited the convention center for conferences, trade shows and other events.
“We saw a dramatic increase in shows and conferences in 2013 and 2014,” Stephens said. “Business continues to be steady and on the rise.”
Built in 1975, the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, located at River Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue, offers 840,000 sq. ft. of flexible exhibition space, six exhibition halls, a 30,000 sq. ft. lobby, ballrooms and several meeting rooms.
The convention center conducts close to 100 trade shows, conventions, meetings and expositions including this week’s camping show and next week’s golf show, which may be a sign of spring.
Pictured: Ricardo Raya a long-time employee of the convention center.