The Beaumont City Council held its weekly meeting at the new Event Centre on July 10, giving the public the first opportunity to view the site. The massive windows looked out over rain falling on the pond in front of the building; inside, the council conducted business as usual in the new structure at 700 Crockett St.
After much delay and a still ongoing controversy over the $8.3 million construction cost, the center is open for business. Contractor C.F. Jordan of Houston is completing a few items on the punch list. The firm has not asked for final payment, but Brenda Beadle, capital programs manager with the city of Beaumont, is confident that the matter will be resolved with little conflict.
The first private event, a wedding, was held Saturday, July 7. “It was absolutely gorgeous with the lights on the lake visible from inside,” said Beadle. “The Event Centre is everything we wanted it to be. It will fill the current void for mid-size venues.”
The building was designed as homage – and replacement – for the Harvest Club that was damaged during Hurricane Rita and finally demolished after Hurricane Ike, according to Trung Doan, AIA, partner in Studio Red in Houston, architect of the project.
“Visitors walk right into the reception area, which is typical for this type of venue. The large area under the canopy facing the lake will serve as a foyer in all weather,” said Doan.
The goal of the design was to bring out the personality of Beaumont. “The columns in front of the building are an abstract shipyard; looking up, (it) seems to be the underside of a ship,” said Doan. “Looking at the building from the far side of the lake, the columns appear to be dancing on the water.”
The Event Centre is well booked heading into the future with weddings and other events. It can accommodate up to 600 guests, seated at round tables. The kitchen provides a large refrigerator and prep tables for caterers. There is a stage and dance floor in the center of the hall. Rental rates are available on the city’s Web site, and reservations can be made by calling the Civic Center office.
Jill Swanson can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 256, or by e-mail at jill [at] beaumontbusinessjournal [dot] com.