Colorado

Dec 29, 2010 3:16 PM by Andy Koen

Church plans to open in Expo Center this weekend; CVB says city can handle loss of event space

Inside the former Phil Long Expo Center, contractors and volunteers are making the most of the next 48 hours to get the new Springs Church ready for visitors on New Years Eve. The church purchased the 90,000 square foot convention space last month for $5 million.

Ro-i Steiner is a church member and the lead contractor for the remodel. He says he's not stressed at all about the amount of work left to be done. He says not only have congregation members pitched in to help, but volunteers from other churches as well.

"We have had volunteers from other churches come and help us do the build out and help us clean up and donate things for our Friday night New Years Eve celebration."

Friday's celebration will be part open house, part New Years Eve party with food, games and a concert by Christian rock band Sonic Flood. After the open house, the first church services will be held here Sunday morning; one at 9:00 a.m. and another at 11:00 a.m.

The sheer size of the event center made it ideal for hundreds of large events in the city. There is no other venue in town with quite this much indoor floor space. Nevertheless, the Convention and Visitors Bureau isn't worried about losing events.

"We're not worried about not being able to accommodate any certain events because of that specific space leaving," said spokesperson Chelsy Murphy.

She says there is more than 400,000 square feet of convention space in the city, whether it's in venues like the Colorado Springs World Arena and the Norris Penrose Events Center or at hotels such as the Broadmoor and the Antlers.

"We haven't spoken to anybody within our organization that feels that they can't find an alternative within the Pikes Peak Region so we're very happy that we're able to accommodate the events that do come."

Steiner says the Springs Church expects to be finished with their remodeling in March. They don't plan to use the building for convention space, but they do plan to host the Feed the Children Event again next year.

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