OC Will Replace Convention Center AV System

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials last week approved a roughly $676,000 replacement of the audiovisual system in the older section of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

City Engineer Terry McGean on Feb. 16 told the Mayor and Council the audio and video systems in the older exhibit halls A and B were installed during a 1996 expansion and needed to be replaced at an estimated cost of around $676,000. The audiovisual systems in the newer sections expanded in 2014 were replaced at the time and the newest expansion nearing completion includes state-of-the-art audio and video systems.

McGean explained the audiovisual systems in the older sections of the convention center were not compatible with the systems in the newer sections. For example, music or audio presentations from the Performing Arts Center or other conventions, shows and competitions cannot readily be piped throughout the facility.

“Although the system served the building well, it has now become functionally obsolete and many of the system components have failed,” he said. “Over the past four years, the convention center has received an increasing amount of complaints regarding the quality of the system and its inability to interface with newer digital media.”

McGean requested the $676,000 for the audiovisual system replacement be transferred from the Ocean City Capital Reserve Account, an accounted funded in partnership with the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA). Ocean City partners with the MSA on all things related to construction and expansion at the convention center and each party contributes $50,000 per year to the fund, which is used for maintenance and repair projects.

When the latest expansion is completed, annual contributions to the fund from the town and the MSA will jump to $100,000.

McGean said the capital reserve account currently has around $1.2 million in it. Although the planned audiovisual system replacement will take a big dent out of the fund, McGean said he was confident the fund would be restored before any other major repairs or replacements were needed. Incidentally, the cost of the audiovisual system in the expanded Hall C is nearly $728,000, but that is being paid through project funds.

The council ultimately approved the fund transfer for the audiovisual system in the old section of the convention center. Councilman John Gehrig said the time had come.

“It really is terrible in there,” he said. “It has to be done if want to continue doing business in there in the future.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.