Resort Convention Center’s Next Expansion Project To Begin

OCEAN CITY – Construction is returning to the Roland. E Powell Convention Center once again with the second phase of the facility’s expansion taking off this week, resulting eventually in a new performing arts auditorium.
On Monday evening, Mayor Rick Meehan announced last Wednesday he and City Engineer Terry McGean went to Annapolis to meet with the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) in front of the Board of Public Works, gaining approval for Whiting-Turner of Baltimore to be the construction manager of the expansion of the convention center as well as the approval of sub-contractors involved with the project.
“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Mayor Rick Meehan said.
Phase II will feature a 1,200-seat performing arts auditorium, which will replace the convention center’s existing stage, the first-floor exhibit hall and a portion of the second-floor ballroom. It will include two tiers of fixed seating and city officials maintain it will attract major shows, concerts, plays and other performances.
Phase II is a $14 million project with MSA funding $5.7 million and the Town of Ocean City funding $8.3 million, which will be covered in the 2013 bond issue.
On Wednesday, City Engineer Terry McGean said Whiting-Turner is mobilizing this week to begin the project, which is estimated to be completed in 14 months with the new auditorium opening in February of 2015.
In a couple weeks, major construction will begin as the most eastern portion of the second-floor ballroom will be split off with the construction of a dividing wall to create the auditorium on the first floor into a two-story space.
“We have to do that when there are no events scheduled in the ballroom and that window of opportunity starts on Oct. 20,” McGean said.
Once the dividing wall is up, the next big step will be foundation work on the lower level, followed by the demolishing of columns and removing the first-floor ceiling/second-story floor.
In January of this year, the town celebrated the completion of the expansion’s first phase, revealing the new bay front ballroom and Trimper Dockside Exhibit Hall.
The new ballroom is on the building’s second floor with its entire back wall covered in floor-to-ceiling windows as it faces the bay. Trimper Dockside Exhibit Hall is directly below the ballroom on the first floor.