terry charles | behind the stage | oct. 2018
You may not see anything happening on the outside, but behind the scenes, progress is being made on a new, 120,000 square foot Brown County Expo Center. There are no specific plans yet for a building, but Brown County and the Village of Ashwaubenon have started the ball rolling. A request for proposal (RFP) was sent out to many firms for both a project manager and for an architect. The project manager would oversee things on a day to day basis once things really get going. Of course an architectural firm will design the new building.
As part of the RFP process, the firms were offered a chance to get a site tour of the current Brown County Veterans Memorial Complex. I was the contact for the site tours so if a company wanted to come through and see what is currently here they had to schedule it with me.
I didn't know how many potential project managers or architects would be interested in a tour but I didn't want to be in a situation where we, as a company, would be giving 10 or 20 different tours. So based on some early interest and schedule availability, I decided to offer three tours over two days and any interested firms needed to schedule for one of those tours.
I have to say it was an enlightening process for me. We had about 20 firms come through with probably another three or four that showed interest but were unable to get here for a tour. Companies in the Green Bay area and many from the Milwaukee or Madison areas were here and many were part of large national firms.
I was curious of their interest. More than a few told me the interest is high in this project not only because of the $93 million price tag, but also because it is a high profile project in the middle of the stadium district with a lot of great design possibilities.
As the firms toured they asked questions of us, PMI Entertainment Group, as it pertained to future use of the new building. We told them we needed a lot more expo space and certainly more storage space. We told them of the events we projected to be here and said they needed to consider office space for our staff as well as a new commercial kitchen that would have to service the entire complex, including food for Resch Center concessions and suites.
From here, the firms submit their proposals to the county and village. A committee will determine how many of the firms it wants to interview and then will likely select the project manager first. Once a project manager is picked, it's possible that company will be in on the interviews to select an architect. Once that is done, there will probably several meetings to determine the design of the building, knowing the total cost cannot exceed $93 million dollars.
Once a final design is approved, officials will bid out the project. The design planning will likely take most of the fall. If all goes well our company will be prepared to vacate the current complex, excluding the Resch Center, in June of 2019. It's possible the demolition of the current complex could begin next summer. An aggressive timetable could have it open in early 2021. If not then, sometime in 2021 seems to be the best guess, if all goes as planned.
The key word is if.
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.