Civic center draws rave reviews

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Clovis Civic Center Operations Manager Brock Neely lines up glasses Wednesday afternoon at the center. Neely was setting up for a retirement party later that evening.

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Web postings by area residents gave rave reviews to the Clovis Civic Center.

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas’ testimony simply read, “Wow, that is the only thing that comes to mind after the event is over.”

After attending a bridge club luncheon at the facility, Joy Pattison exclaimed, “The food couldn’t have been better and was beautifully presented.”

On a one-to-five scale, with five being the best, the Clovis Civic Center has received an overall satisfaction rating of 4.8, according to Manager Neil McMullin, who got the average from client surveys.

Clovis resident Amber Hayes said she had the opportunity to experience the service at the civic center when she attended a wedding. “Everything was beautiful,” Hayes said. “The food was so pretty you almost didn’t want to eat it.”

With a staff of six full-time and 25 part-time employees, the new civic center has hosted numerous events ranging from trade shows to small, private banquets.

Global Spectrum, the Philadelphia-based company managing the civic center, submitted a budget to the city of Clovis prior to opening. “Year-to-date we are beating the budget,” McMullin said.

McMullin said the highest attendance was reached at the two-day Home and Garden Show held in April. The home-improvement trade show drew some 2,500 paying customers each day.

A 500-person wedding reception, which included a dance floor, deejay and catering, has been the largest booking financially for the civic center. “With dinner being $15 to $16 per person,” McMullin said, “wedding receptions are the biggest draw money-wise.”

The most highly publicized event held at the civic center was the July 1 celebration in honor of the new mission for Cannon Air Force Base. More than 2,000 citizens, political figures and military dignitaries attended the festivities that included speeches, live entertainment and free refreshments. McMullin said Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley of Air Force Special Operations Command was so impressed with the facility he sent personnel to gather more information about the civic center. Subsequently, a private welcome banquet was scheduled for AFSOC members who plan to tour Clovis in late July.

The 30,000-square-foot complex features an 11,325-square-foot ballroom, a landscaped plaza, meeting space and a full-service kitchen.

While McMullin is enjoying the progress at the facility, he said he still believes there is room for improvement. “I’m the kind of person who is never satisfied,” he said. “I would like to see more events booked and get more organized.”

McMullin said previous events have been held primarily on the weekends, but 16 events have already been scheduled for both September and October. Future events include an Air Force Band concert and a Phoenix Mixed Martial Arts Gladiator Fight.