WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — City officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the new MPEC Hotel and Convention Center Wednesday afternoon, October 20.

A new era of Wichita Falls is coming soon.

By 2024, new high schools should be in the city, along with a new hotel and convention center that is set to bring millions to the Texoma area.

“Clark Construction out of Little Rock, Arkansas, will start putting the schedule together, will start beating up concrete, start hauling in dirt and you’ll start seeing this thing be constructed,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said.

“Seems like a community that is right for this type of project, and we think we can come in and benefit the community and do great business here,” CEO of O’Reilly Hospitality Management Tim O’Reilly said.

200 rooms, onsite restaurant bar and lounge and a swimming pool will be included in the Delta Hotels by Marriott Hotel that will be owned and operated by O’Reilly Hospitality Management, who will put $48 million into the project.

300 new jobs are expected during construction, with 116 team members employed once the hotel opens.

Although financial setbacks and the pandemic delayed some progress, officials are excited to bust some concrete.

“it’s gonna be the jewel of the community,” O’Reilly said. “We hope that the whole city believes it to be theirs, that it’s really their facility because they helped make it a reality and helped fund the convention center. So it’s a great feeling, and our team’s super excited about it.”

The city will use $12 million in 4-B sales tax funds to fund the convention center with the city and the O’Reilly team working to bring in conferences and conventions.

With new jobs and new potential visitors, Santellana asks people who still doubt the benefits of this project to have patience.

“Just wait until it gets built. Once it’s built, you’re gonna see these conventions come, you’re gonna see the uptick in activity here at the MPEC,” Santellana said. “I think with us taking over MPEC, O’Reilly being able to run this hotel, you can’t see anything but positivity come from this project.”

Community members hope this project will bring positivity and another attraction to grow the city.

Officials hope to have the buildings ready to open by August 2023.