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Renovation Project Set for Sikes Senter Mall

<br> <P>For many years, Sikes Senter Mall was the shopping hub of the area and for many people, still a very popular place to shop, eat and find entertainment.</P> <P>In recent years, the mall has seen more and more competition opening... more retail centers, especially along Lawrence and Call Field... more places to shop....more places to eat...</P> <P>But soon there will be a big makeover at the mall, which mall officials say has been in the works for some time, will it bring in more stores and more customers?</P> <P>Mechell Dixon spoke to local shoppers on whether the almost 40-year old mall is still the big center of shopping it once was.</P>
 

Sikes Senter Mall has nearly 100 stores that allow Texomans to shop 'till they drop.

And soon, the facility will undergo a $2.5 to $3 million dollar renovation project.

Its the first major renovation since 2002, as well as the first since new ownership took over in January.

Over the past year, Wichita Falls has blossomed with new businesses.

While some focus on food others cater to clothing.

But when it comes to shopping establishments, where do some Texomans frequent most?

"Walmart and GameStop... video games for my son and for men and Walmart to get all other stuff. Just odd and ends things. That's about it," says Eric Heflin.

"Walmart. Albertson's. Just simple places," explains Emily Blethen.

Some say Sikes Senter Mall is not their big shopping spot because its stores cater mostly to a younger crowd, but managers have a simple plan to attract some of those shoppers to or back to the mall.

Managers say the facility will soon undergo a $2.5 to $3 million dollar renovation project.

This man has of what the renovations should include.

"I'd like to see them put some more fast food places and a bigger arcade area for the kids and stuff," explains Heflin.

But the actual renovation will include installing new flooring through the mall, replacing fluorescent lights in the common areas, adding more soft seating areas, making wireless internet available and possibly adding more bathrooms.

And managers say those bathrooms would include family friendly facilities as well as a breast-feeding area, which makes this mother smile.

"I'd go there for that. That helps out a lot of other people. More privacy. More comfortable environment," says Blethen.

And construction is slated to start on that more comfortable environment in the next few months.

Mall managers say the renovation plans have been in place for about a year but they decided to hold off on construction until after the holiday season.

Also, according to mall manager Bo Bailey, several new stores have opened in the mall in the past year, including Baskins and Maurice's which have provided a bigger variety for shopper who really come out during the early morning and mid-afternoon hours.

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