The City of Oak Ridge is on track to construct and is in the process of transforming a portion of the Oak Ridge Civic Center into a 10,834-square-foot conference center.
City officials worked with architectural firm Clark Nexsen to design the new facility.
The bid to complete the construction of the project will be considered at the City Council meeting on June 12. The low bid submitted was very close to the estimated construction cost for this part of the project.
The conference center is expected to have a banquet hall setup that would comfortably seat at least 400 people at tables and could become three smaller meeting spaces with partitions set up. There would also be smaller breakout rooms located at the front of the facility.
The project will include improvements to shower and restroom facilities as well as a remodel of the existing Civic Center kitchen and establishing a corridor outside of the Civic Center for visitors to be able to see the entrance to the conference center from Oak Ridge Turnpike. As a part of the project, a sprinkler system will be installed in the entire Civic Center facility. The Civic Center's recreational spaces like the pool and gym will remain at the facility.
The total project cost is estimated to be about $5.5 million. Just under $3 million is already available from a direct appropriation from the Governor's budget in 2018.
Before developing the design of the conference center, project managers met with volunteers on some of the City's advisory boards, including the Recreation and Parks and Youth Advisory boards, to collect input. Architects gave a public presentation at the City Council work session in January and Council was also given an update at its work session in April of 2023.
A start date for the project has not been set but construction is expected to take about 15 months.
For more information, contact Oak Ridge Economic Development Consultant Ray Evans by email or call at 865-548-2137.