Thursday, July 9, 2009

Details about Clarence Brown Conference Center

Construction under way on The Clarence Brown Conference Center
(Media release) Bartow County civic leaders gathered today to break ground on the new Clarence Brown Conference Center to be constructed on Ga. 20 across from Georgia Highlands College in Cartersville. Following much consideration, community input and six years of planning, construction is set to begin on the new 45,000-square-foot meeting facility named in honor of Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown.

The project is funded by the two-penny SPLOST continuation approved in June 2008, and an additional $100,000 technology grant awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Additional countywide SPLOST-funded construction projects from that vote include expansion of the Bartow County Jail, five new fire stations and a fire/EMS headquarters, and a new Georgia State Patrol facility.
Lyman, Davidson Dooley Inc. of Marietta created the building design to meet the requirements for LEED Certification. Hogan Construction Group LLC. of Marietta has been chosen as the project's general contractor. Construction is expected to be completed mid-2010.

In keeping with Bartow County's commitment to environmental stewardship, the facility will be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certified. Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification recognizes design and construction practices that are sustainable, reduce negative environmental impact, and increase a building's profitability by lowering energy consumption. The Brown Center will have a Silver Level Certification and will be one of only seven publicly-owned LEED certified buildings in Georgia.

The Brown Center has been designed to host social and business functions with the seamless efficiencies that 21st Century technology affords. The main ballroom will be 12,824 square feet and can be divided into four separate spaces. The ballroom alone will accommodate up to 1,400 people. Some of the technological features include integrated videoconferencing, telepresence, content archival/publishing, and distance learning opportunities making this an ideal classroom extension for area community colleges. In addition, there will be nine classroom/meeting rooms, a 300-seat lecture hall, and an executive boardroom. Interactive whiteboards, projections systems, additional videoconference sites, large format film presentation screens, and annotation and assistive listening capabilities found in these areas will foster appeal to a broad corporate audience.

The 20-acre property will also feature a beautifully landscaped outdoor pavilion and an amphitheater. In theory, this facility could host up to 17 different functions simultaneously. The facility and grounds will be aesthetically pleasing, lacking any institutional visual impressions. The traditional architectural style is intended to be reflective of the community's core values, while blending with the Georgia Highlands College Corridor vision. The new facility will be technologically sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing, offering unparalleled amenities for social and business functions in northwest Georgia. The Brown Center will certainly be a source of pride for Bartow County residents. The Clarence Brown Conference Center will house the offices of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau and will be operated by the CVB staff.
The Brown Center: Behind the name
(Media release) The Bartow County Civic Center Core Governing Committee deliberated many name suggestions for the new conference center now under construction in Cartersville, the county's governmental seat. "After canvassing a broad cross-section of the community, there were many suggestions, but one comment popped up consistently: 'It should be named after Commissioner Brown,'" said Ellen Archer, Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director. Thus, the facility will be named The Clarence Brown Conference Center.

Archer explained that "Conference Center" was chosen instead of "Civic Center" because civic centers typically include recreational and/or theatrical components whereas this facility is designed for social and business use. The name was officially presented at the facility's ground breaking today.

The center is funded from a two-penny SPLOST continuation passed by Bartow voters in June 2008. Additional countywide SPLOST-funded construction projects funded from that vote include expansion of the Bartow County Jail, five new fire stations and a fire/EMS headquarters, and a new Georgia State Patrol facility.

The Clarence Brown Conference Center is being constructed on GA Highway 20, west of I-75 Exit 290, just across from Georgia Highlands College, Cartersville Campus. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2010.

Brown, who has served as Bartow County's sole commissioner since August 1991 when he filled the un-expired term of the late Commissioner Frank Moore, graciously accepted the honor. "Their decision was a bit uncomfortable for me," said Commissioner Brown, "but at the same time, I am very humbled and honored by the Committee's decision to name the facility for me."

"There is no one more deserving of this honor than Commissioner Clarence Brown," said Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini, who serves as a civic center committee member and was present when the name was decided. "His leadership and selfless dedication to our community has had a tremendous positive impact on the quality of life throughout the county." While Brown's accomplishments as Commissioner are abundant, those that have impacted the environment and quality of life for area residents are most memorable.

While in office, Commissioner Brown has developed the Growth Management Plan and County Strategic Plan, which protects the county with many quality growth measures and regulations, while enabling manageable growth of community services. Key accomplishments demonstrating Brown's commitment to environmental stewardship include: securing long-term permits for the county landfill; creating a Sub-title "D" Solid Waste Facility and Recycling Facility, and implementing countywide "greenbox" recycling centers. He established the award-winning Greenspace and Keep Bartow Beautiful programs. And of national significance, Commissioner Brown developed the "first of its kind" Clean Air Program known as Environmental Management System. Developed in cooperation with the EPA, EPD, local businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce, this program has become the guidebook for county governments across the nation.

Commissioner Brown has expanded county recreation facilities, constructed eight new fire/EMS stations, and expanded county property holdings for additional courthouse administration offices. In addition to numerous infrastructure concerns, Commissioner Brown has demonstrated a true concern for county preservation and cultural development. Brown is credited with bringing a new college campus to Bartow County and establishing partnerships with local non-profit organizations to provide a variety of cultural services to the community. Commissioner Brown has sponsored Community Development Block Grants for the construction of the Boys & Girls Club, Hickory Log School for mentally disabled men, Tranquility House Battered Women's Shelter, and Habitat for Humanity. In addition, ongoing historic restoration of the 1903 Bartow County Courthouse and National Register Historic Site Rose Lawn Museum ensures that these local treasures remain for generations to follow.

Brown's service does not end with Bartow County. Having served as President of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia from 2003-2004, he continues his service on the ACCG Board of Managers and the ACCG Pension Board. In addition, Brown has served as Coosa Valley Regional Development Center Chairman and continues service on the RDC Board, serving approximately 500,000 residents and 35 municipalities within the 10 county Coosa Valley region.
Commissioner Brown has been an active member of Friendship Baptist Church for 38 years, where he has served as a Sunday School Teacher and as a Deacon since 1974. He has been married to wife Carol for 43 years, has three children and 6 grandchildren.

"For many, many years, Clarence Brown has been a quiet champion for every citizen of Bartow County," said local businessman J. Parnick Jennings, Jr. Serving as one of the many community leaders who has worked for six years to make the conference center project a reality, Jennings added, " I am certain that naming the new civic center after Clarence Brown is an honor that he least desires for himself but most definitely deserves."

Commissioner Brown reflected on this lasting legacy to his service to Bartow County, "I haven't given a lot of thought as to what my legacy will be. I will leave that to others, but I hope that in the future people who look at my administration will recognize that our decisions, policies and practices were made with a great sense of pride and respect for the past and an approach to planning with the objective of having a positive effect on future generations of Bartow County citizens."
The Brown Center: Behind the numbers
(Media release) Bartow County voters went to the polls in June 2008 and voted in support of a two-penny Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax continuation
Residents favored this seamless investment in the community in order to gain much needed meeting space, an expansion of the Bartow County Jail, five new fire stations, a fire/EMS headquarters, and a new Georgia State Patrol facility. While each of these projects brings about necessary infrastructure for growing Bartow County, the new Clarence Brown Conference Center will bring a positive economic impact and much needed tax dollars to fund future growth projects.

The $20 million project held its official groundbreaking today on GA Highway 20, west of I-75 Exit 290, across from Georgia Highlands College Cartersville Campus. The center, designed by Lyman Davidson Dooley, Inc. and constructed by Hogan Construction Company, LLC., is expected to open in mid 2010.

During a six-year developmental phase, local leaders embarked on the center's primary purpose of providing adequate public assembly space for Bartow County residents; however, they also had the foresight to enhance the center's design with technological amenities that will attract regional business and educational markets. By providing services such as videoconferencing, telepresence, interactive whiteboards, wireless and wired Internet connectivity, film quality projection systems, and assistive listening, the facility will be the most technologically sophisticated conference center of its size in north Georgia.

The expansion of distance learning opportunities and ease of international connectivity for regional industries are just a few of the facility's new features. In addition, the Clarence Brown Conference Center will be an ideal location for legal professionals and law enforcement officials to conduct depositions and other inquiries without the expense of business travel.

Designed with aesthetics as a priority, the center will be a pleasing setting for regional social gatherings such as weddings, receptions, proms, dances and fraternal organization forums. With the ability to serve as a state-of-the-art trade show facility, the center will also avail itself to limited competitive events such as dance competitions, table tennis tournaments and pageants, just to name a few. The 300-seat lecture hall will also welcome cultural events such as author's presentations, public readings, and dramatic monologues. Hosting national political debates is also a distinct possibility for the Clarence Brown Conference Center – a similarly designed setting in Oxford, Mississippi hosted the 2008 McCain-Obama Debate.

While the variety of suitable occasions are numerous, Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) executives propose that the center will serve at minimum 70,000 people annually, with 30% of these from Bartow County. It is projected that the 49,000 non-residents will travel from distances of 50 miles or more. Approximately 60% of the center usage will be for educational or professional gatherings and 40% will attend social/leisure or fraternal gatherings.

The CVB has developed its economic impact projections based only upon the non-residential usage or 49,000 annual new visitors. According to the Travel Economic Impact Profile for Georgia conducted by the Travel Industry of America (TIA) for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the average daily expenditure for business travelers in Georgia is $175 per day. The projected 60% non-residential business clients, or 29,400 people, will make direct expenditures of $5,145,000 in one year. The remaining 40% drawn for social functions will make direct expenditures of $1,528,800 per year. When these new dollars are multiplied in the local economy through salaries paid, replenishment of good and services consumed, the effectual economic impact per year could be more than $10 million annually (applying a 1.5 multiple).

Still, this yearly economic impact does not take into account the impact of new job creation generated by this facility. The TIA Georgia study notes that one new job is created for each $83,713 in new expenditures brought into a community. Therefore, the $6,673,800 combined total expenditure generated by the Clarence Brown Conference Center will produce at least 79 new community jobs with a minimal average annual salary estimated at $20,121.

Not projected is the impact of spin-off private investments related to and generated by the creation of this new conference facility, such as additional hotel and retail developments.

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