Construction Needed for Convention Center

One of San Diego's biggest buildings needs a new roof, a new floor, and lots of other repairs

The San Diego Convention Center building will need construction soon. It's routine maintenance for the 20 year old building, but it will be very expensive.

San Diego has a heavy financial interest in the 22-year-old building, as it brings hundreds of millions in tourism money, and jobs, to the county.

Time and weather have taken a toll on huge fabric sails that cover the pavilion floor, which are stained and torn. The fabric sails are scheduled for replacement in four years.

"We need to recognize that its useful life is over and that we have to have a plan to transition,” said Steve Johnson with SDCC.

A transition to a new fabric roof will cost $11 million.

The floor below is also showing its age as it’s cracked and patched, and do for an up-grade.

"Strengthen the concrete floor so it's able to handle the added weight of some of the exhibits that are used up there, whether they're cars or trucks or whatever,” Johnson said.

Other needs include new sprinklers, escalators, rest rooms and doors, along with new carpet and signage to will match the new exhibit place, in a proposed expansion.

"So when people come into the building, it looks like all one building, instead of three different buildings patched together,” Johnson said.

Convention center management says a legal agreement requires the city of San Diego to pay the total cost of $31 million.

Mayor Bob Filner says he'll study the request, but he's skeptical.

"This year's budget has sixteen million going to the convention center so I don't know what more we need to do,” he said.

Whoever pays, SDCC managers say the work must begin next year.
Convention center managers say the concrete floor is good for another five years; that's a three million dollar job.

Managers say they need to know where the money's coming from so they can schedule the work.

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