City civic center expected to be completed by mid-December

Lanny Gass of Clovis hangs wire for decorative sheet rock Tuesday at the Clovis Civic Center located on the north side of Seventh Street near Schepps Boulevard. The civic center is scheduled to open by mid-December. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

A light coat of tan dirt covers the site of the partly constructed city civic center. Union carpenter Frank Montonya wears it on his face and clothes. That’s an ancillary aspect of the job, though.

Montonya, a member of the White Sands construction crew, briskly walked through the center’s unfinished rooms Tuesday afternoon. He enthusiastically motioned all around — “an accordion will hang there when we are finished,” he said, pointing up; “there will be mirrors over there,” he said, pointing left.

His glee is shared by many.

Though there have been more than 26 change-orders for the building, according to Montonya, and a bout of bad winter weather, the civic center is slowly morphing into more than a skeleton. The 29,000 sq. ft. building located north of Clovis Community College is partially wired and insulated.

City officials said Tuesday the center will be finished by mid-December despite last year’s weather woes and recent change-order setbacks.

“We are still a little behind schedule, but hopefully by the end of this year, the center will be done,” said city building inspector Pete Wilt, a regular visitor to the construction site.

The center will feature two ballrooms, each with a seating capacity of 378, and four meeting rooms with capacity levels ranging from 40 to 90, Wilt said. The center’s kitchen covers 16,000-square-feet.

“You can hold anything from a wedding reception to a Christmas party to a conference,” Wilt said.

Mayor David Lansford said city commissioners have yet to formally discuss whether or not to permit the sale of alcohol on civic grounds. City Commissioners, however, will address the issue in the next few months, Lansford said.

City attorney David Richards previously said alcohol consumption in a city facility is permitted with a governmental license.

Roy Seay, a member of the Clovis Civic Center Steering Committee and vice president of Clovis National Bank, said the $6 million center is on budget. He said a few sacrifices had to made in order to stay within that budget.

“This will improve the quality of life for the people who work and live here,” Seay said. “The center will be used daily.”

Seay said the center will expand entertainment options for residents by hosting trade shows and cultural events.

The center’s first event will be the Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce breakfast, although not many events are booked after that because pricing for rooms must be approved by the City Commission, Seay said.

The same consultant company that the city hired for the design and construction phase of the project has also requested to manage the center. The company, Pennsylvania-based Global Spectrum, operates 47 similar facilities across the country, in small and large towns, said Global Spectrum president of sales and client services Dean Dennis.

“We understand the needs of smaller communities and we think there is great potential here,” Dennis said.

Global Spectrum is the only company that expressed interest in the management of the center, according to Wilt.