Convention Center Renovations
December 16, 2014
By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
The village of Rosemont could get an early Christmas present this year.
Major renovations being done at the Donald E. Stephens (DES) Convention Center, which began around Thanksgiving, may be completed before the scheduled Jan. 1 date.
“We are ahead of schedule. The construction company is doing a great job and it looks great. They could be done by Christmas,” DES Executive Director Christopher Stephens said this week.
Renovations to the ballrooms on the first and second floors comprised of 64,000 sq. ft., along with the foyers and the ballroom bathrooms, were to be completed by Jan. 1.
The project is giving the convention center a fresh look including new, lighter paint, wallpaper, carpeting, artwork, flooring and more.
Workers are also replacing the old existing high wattage light bulbs with low wattage LED lighting, even in the chandeliers.
“That change alone can save the convention center a significant amount of money in energy costs each year,” Stephens said.
One electrician noted that in some areas the light bulb wattage has gone from 25 to eight and noted it would result in substantial cost savings.
Fifty-five workers, contractors and subcontractors, with Degen and Rosato Construction Co. began work on the convention renovations Nov. 23.
Renovations of the two ballrooms, corridors and meeting rooms also include new light fixtures and new acoustical ceiling tiles.
The ballroom updates are part of the $5,560,592 in overall renovation costs, which were approved by the village board July 9.
Other convention center renovations include rehabbing the elevated covered walkway and a complete renovation of the 300-car parking garage located on the east side of the center.
When the convention center opened in 1975 it consisted of 150,000 sq. ft. and was host to 16 tradeshows that first year. Today it has nearly one million square feet and hosts approximately 1.35 million visitors annually to more than 100 tradeshows, conventions, meetings and expositions.
The conference center ballroom area is often turned into several meeting rooms and can handle 7,000 guests for receptions, 3,900 guests in classroom formats and 4,800 guests in a banquet style, according to village officials.