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Tucson Convention Center to see $65 million upgrade

TUCSON- The Tucson Convention Center will soon see new upgrades and expansions after the Rio Nuevo Board unanimously approved a list of priorities worth $65 million for the building.

The plan would include improvements to the main convention complex, Tucson Arena, Tucson Music Hall, Eckbo Plaza and fountain and the Leo Rich Theater.

Next steps for the plans include securing finances for the projects and selecting a contractor. Also sending plans to the Arizona State Legislature and City Council for approval.

The list of improvements according to Rio Nuevo:

Current commitments – $8.2 million

  • Replacement ice plant for the hockey rink – scheduled to be completed in September
  • A 350-spot parking garage near the northwest corner of Church and Cushing streets – construction scheduled to start in Spring 2020
  • Adding 45 parking spots throughout the complex

Convention Center priorities – $14.7 million

  • Renovation of South Exhibition Hall, convention spaces, existing meeting rooms, restrooms
  • Lighting upgrades to the Arena
  • Upgrades to streetscapes and connections throughout the campus
  • Restoration and improvement of Upper Eckbo Plaza – includes a splash pad and new sidewalk and landscaping
  • High-speed data infrastructure throughout the Convention Center
  • Meeting Room expansion
  • Adding 18,000 – 20,000 square feet of meeting space on the west side of the Ballroom and South Exhibit Hall

Entertainment Priorities – $26 million

  • 634-spot parking garage west of the Music Hall
  • Renovations to Music Hall – seating, restrooms, lobby, lighting, sound, green room, offices
  • Outdoor patio for Music Hall
  • Upgrades to restroom, lobby, lighting and seating in Leo Rich Theater
  • Eckbo plaza – restoring the fountain, sustainability enhancements to the irrigation system, and upgrades to the Central Plaza and North Walkway landscape and sidewalks

Other items under consideration:

  • Restoration of the Sosa-Carrillo House and museum
  • Stabilization and repairs to the foundation and stucco, upgrading drainage
  • Creation of outdoor plaza and designated parking area, expansion of the patio
  • A second ice rink for community use


Hector Ponce

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