WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Just a few months before the new Hotel and Convention Center is finished at the MPEC, the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall and Kay Yeager Coliseum are getting some upgrades.
On Tuesday, February 7, Wichita Falls City Councilors met to discuss a variety of items, one of which had to do with a new sound system at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
“That is often something that we hear feedback from our residents, is the sound in there,” Director of MPEC and Communication and Marketing Lindsay Barker said. “You know, they have a hard time hearing and understanding what’s being said, so this will be a new house sound system for Kay Yeager. It’ll be great for rodeos, our sporting events, we’ve got UIL basketball tournaments coming up. If we have a dinner in there, those types of things, graduations, that’s a really big one – MSU always uses Kay Yeager, which we love.”
That project was approved, with only Steve Jackson voting no. It will take about eight to nine months to complete and cost around $580,000.
Also approved was a little more than $250,000 to buy new chairs to replace the original ones purchased when the MPEC was opened.
“It was an approval to purchase new banquet chairs, $1,200 to be exact,” Barker said. “The current banquet chairs that we have are original to the building, so they are about 27 years old so they have seen a lot of wear and tear and really need to be replaced.”
The chair purchase will be funded with excess general funds. All of these projects are set to be done around the time the new Hotel and Convention Center is finished.
“The chairs will match the chairs that are over at the Convention Center in terms of the finish and the fabric,” Barker said. “I think it is important; we are going through the renovation project right now to provide a seamless feel between the two facilities because we’ll complement each other. We are already working on events together.”
Barker did want to stress the Kay Yeager sound project will not cost the property taxpayers any money.
“The funding for the sound system for Kay Yeager Coliseum, that was identified through the venue tax revenues,” Barker said. “That venue tax was voter-approved and what that is is when someone stays at a hotel, it’s an additional 2% tax that they are paying, and so the state actually specifies what that money can be spent on.”
These improvements come on top of around $3.5 million approved in December to replace all the original carpeting in the exhibit hall, redo the walls and bathrooms and replace the ceiling tiles. Funding came from venue taxes, bond money and general funds on hand.
Barker also said the Hotel and Convention Center is still on schedule to be completed sometime this summer.