GSX Daily 2023 – Redesigning in Dallas

By Megan Gates

The year was 1964. The Beatles were on their first world tour. And they decided to stop in Dallas, Texas, for a 30-minute set at the Memorial Auditorium.

“The auditorium felt so huge,” recalled Pattie Davidson in an interview with The Dallas Morning News about her first concert experience at the auditorium. “It seemed so humongous. By today’s standards, it’s not, but back then, to me, it was.”

While Dallas looks very different today than it did when Paul, George, Ringo, and John made their first visit, the Memorial Auditorium, now part of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center still looks relatively the same. That’s because the arena, built in 1957, has never been renovated, so it doesn’t include many modern conveniences or security and operational amenities—like a fire suppression system.

But that’s all about to change as Dallas voters approved in November 2022 a $3.7 billion plan to build a new convention center and renovate the auditorium by 2028.

This new convention center will be big—as most things in Texas are. Plans include creating 800,000 square feet of exhibit space, 260,000 square feet of breakout space, 170,000 square feet of ballroom space, and a newly renovated arena and theater. To put that into perspective, a regulation soccer field is approximately 81,000 square feet.

The new convention center will be the hub around which new restaurants, hotels, and night life venues will operate to reconnect downtown Dallas. It’ll also include greenspace—such as a rooftop garden—and relocated light rail station (the DART) to make it more efficient to travel to.

“The expansion of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas is more than the renovation or reconstruction of a convention center,” said Rosa Fleming, City of Dallas’ executive director of convention and event services, in a press release after the approval. “It is an opportunity to re-envision downtown Dallas, reconnecting downtown to its southern neighborhoods and ensuring growth in the retail, restaurant, and housing sectors. In short, the project is a long-term economic development initiative for the city that will resonate for years to come.”

As plans to renovate, expand, and build new portions of the convention center move forward, this is a key moment for security stakeholders to gain a seat at the table to help influence choices and ensure security is integrated into the final project design.

You can read the rest of this article from Security Management here.

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