Committee considers facility management

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Civic Center steering committee is considering several ideas for managing the $6 million facility once it’s complete, including establishing an independent Civic Center Board and hiring a center director.

The city-funded center is located at Seventh Street and Schepps Boulevard.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Jay Gurley, part-time director of communications for ENMR-Plateau, who sits on the steering committee. He said even though the center is in early construction, the time to set up the management and start booking events is now.

Roy Seay said members are working hard to make decisions that will last the test of time.

“We just want to make sure the decision we make today is good for 20 years,” Seay said.

While the ultimate decision about governance of the facility rests with the City Commission, the steering committee will make recommendations in the next few months about the best course of action.

Comprised of commissioners, local business people and other interested citizens, he committee is milling over a number of options for the management, including:

• The Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce may be granted events scheduling authority, officials said Wednesday.

“(The Chamber) usually has first contact with potential people who would want to use the facility for conventions and meetings. By going through them there wouldn’t be conflicting events at the same time,” city manager Joe Thomas said.

• Under current proposals, all financial transactions would go through a non-profit organization, possibly Expo Inc., a locally based non-profit established in 1998. Seay, who is president of the organization, said Expo Inc. is sitting dormant now and could be reactivated for this project. He added that establishing a new non-profit would be a difficult process.

• Establishing a Civic Center Board would hand oversight of the management to an independent board comprised of interested citizens, keeping the center community-based, Seay said.

• Another option would be to hire a center director.

In the meantime, an outside group may be hired to assist with the initial stages of planning, organization and operation of the center. Gurley said the outside group would establish the job description of the Civic Center director, a business plan, operational guidelines and would work hand in hand with the community and architects.

He said the center is designed for mostly small events with 20 to 100 individuals, although it could also host a sit-down banquet of up to 700 and even events like concerts for as many as 900.

He said the many small seminar rooms will allow more than one event to be held at the center at one time.