At a grand opening celebration hosted Friday, Jan. 18, the City of Douglasville proudly opened the doors to the newly constructed Douglasville Conference Center. The City rolled out the red carpet at 6:30 p.m. and welcomed nearly 300 guests including potential customers, community leaders, business associates and members of the media. Guests had the opportunity to tour the immaculate facility and enjoy live music over a gourmet dinner prepared by Carole Parks Catering, the Conference Center’s official on-site catering service.
“The finishing touches are almost complete, and we’re proud to announce that the Douglasville Conference Center is now open for business,” said Carlos Underwood, Conference Center Supervisor.
The Douglasville Conference Center, a stunning architectural landmark in the heart of downtown Douglasville, boasts refinement, luxury, and cultural enrichment. The view inside the facility is equally spectacular, as it expressively combines elegance with innovation. The new Conference Center includes three meeting rooms, a 150-seat auditorium, 15-person boardroom, business center, and a gorgeous rear terrace, as well as two dressing rooms. Amongst the Conference Center’s most exquisite design elements are its chic and relaxing pre-function areas. Although, perhaps the most striking feature is the 7,672-square-foot ballroom with dazzling chandeliers that suspend from a high ceiling with a radiant glow. As an added benefit, the ballroom can be divided into five separate rooms to host multiple events simultaneously.
With a total 37,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, the new facility is nestled in downtown Douglasville in the heart of it all. The Conference Center is within walking distance from a variety of downtown restaurants and shops, and is just across the street from O'Neal Plaza and the original Douglasville Conference Center, both of which will be used for additional meeting and event space options. “Concerning the old Conference Center, the City's plans are for this facility to operate in the months ahead as part of our new Douglasville Conference Center complex,” said Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons. The conference center complex consists of the new facility located at 6700 Church Street and the long-established building located at 6701 Church Street. Adjoined to the new Conference Center is a 300-space parking deck that offers guests and visitors to the downtown area, free and convenient parking.
To help cover the cost of the grand opening event, more than $11,000 was sponsored in part by ADCAP Network Systems, Hardin Construction, Georgia Power, Kaiser Permanente, Rabun Architects, Shaw Hankins, Custom Electronics, Proforma, and Global Experience Specialists (GES). As a special thank you, platinum-level sponsors were treated to a reception before the grand opening celebration began. The pre-function event featured heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages as classical guitarist Dusty Harshbarger performed during the reception hour, adding more elegance to the atmosphere. The reception offered sponsors an up-close-and-personal opportunity to meet and mingle with City of Douglasville officials and Conference Center staff before the start of the celebration.
The official program began with an invocation led by Central Baptist Church Pastor Steve McFall, followed by a five-star meal. Opening remarks from Douglasville City Manager Bill Osborne followed. “I want to thank each of you for being here for an historic occasion …what an important event we celebrate on this date of January 18, 2013,” said Osborne. The City Manager addressed the crowd as “a very select group” for attending the first event to be held in the Douglasville Conference Center. Subsequent to the City Manager’s remarks, comments were made by Rabun Architects’ Mark Reece and Bill Pinto of Hardin Construction. The Douglasville Conference Center was designed by Atlanta-based Rabun Architects, who specializes in conference center and hotel design. Rabun Architects’ 35-year experience has earned the company a national reputation for design excellence on projects. Construction services were administered by Hardin Construction. Hardin is a leading contractor and was recently ranked among the nation’s top contractors by ENR (Engineering News Record).
Persons concluded the program with the dedication of the new facility. He began his speech by welcoming guests and introducing local and state elected officials. “This is the wonderful and long-awaited grand opening celebration of the new Douglasville Conference Center,” said Persons. The Mayor described the needs of having a conference center in the Douglasville and Douglas County area, and highlighted the actions led by the City to address them. “Some of you can remember that for many, many years, there really was no place in Douglasville or Douglas County where you could have a conference, a banquet, or virtually any event involving more than a small number of people. Recognizing this need, the City of Douglasville began to look at options for providing such a facility for the benefit of our community. In fact, we were working on this when I was a member of the City Council more than 20 years ago.”
In consecrating the facility, Persons said “And, now, as Mayor of the City of Douglasville, I hereby dedicate the Douglasville Conference Center to the service of this community and its citizens. May it be a shining attraction for our downtown area, and may it be a place where wonderful memories are made for new brides, for people holding parties, banquets or other functions here, and for people who just want to appreciate the fact that at long last Douglasville and Douglas County has a high quality facility of this nature to serve their community.”
The celebration closed out with a live performance by Tin Roof Band as guests danced the night away. Event keepsakes given out to all guests included key shaped USB flash drives that contained a Conference Center promotional video and brochure. Those in attendance received the “key” to the Conference Center as a symbol to unlock the full potential of the facility and open all possibilities of hosting an event at the new Douglasville Conference Center.
“Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the grand opening of the new Douglasville Conference Center. Your support helped to contribute to such a meaningful and successful event,” said Director of Conference Center Operations Jennifer Bean. In addition to its marvelous construction, the staff here at the Douglasville Conference Center is dedicated to offering world-class service to create stellar experiences and successful events,” said Bean. The Douglasville Conference Center has already booked numerous events including five weddings, two milestone celebrations, several food shows hosted by US Foods, the Bremen Health Clinics Conference, a meeting hosted by Sugar Foods Corporation, the GACC Conference, various church services, in addition to a celebrity golf tournament banquet, as well as a 3-day meeting for Anchor Heating and Air, and a casino night event.
Construction on the state-of-the-art, $14 million project began October 2011 and the Conference Center opened its doors for the first time Friday, Jan. 18. The project is being funded from a two-cent hotel/motel tax collection and an additional one-cent tax that began on July 1, 2011 to promote development. Other funding includes taxes on rental cars and rental fees for the Conference Center.
Before the grand opening event that took place on Jan. 18, the City hosted an employee only open house and ribbon cutting early that day. Attendees were treated to tours and cake to celebrate the event. On Saturday, Jan. 19, the City hosted an open house for the public to attend. Between 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. more than 400 people toured the new Douglasville Conference Center. Staff was also on hand to answer questions.
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