Getting ready for Saturday: Terre Haute Convention Center prepares for the inauguration | Local News


As a worker drills a hole in a metal-framed office door in a hallway, another worker vacuums a conference room. In the main conference room, a worker uses a steamer to remove creases on a display separator.

A new era begins: the construction of the Terre Haute Convention Center, seen here on Wednesday, began at the end of April 2020 and will celebrate its official opening on Saturday. Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza

“We have so much to do right now. We have chefs in the kitchen. We have equipment being installed, we’re cleaning and training on equipment we haven’t used yet,” Tennille Wanner said on Wednesday, as others learned how to use new size coffee machines. industrial site in Terre Haute about to open. Convention Center, 800 Wabash Ave.

“We have all the dishes and we have them all on site, but we still have a few little things like dish carts that we’re still waiting on,” Wanner said.

Wanner is general manager of the new center, which has its grand public opening on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Grand opening events will include a trade show with 30 vendors in the main conference area.

A private stakeholder appreciation dinner is scheduled for Thursday evening.

“It’s a dinner for our board and the people who helped make this facility happen,” Wanner said. “It’s a sample for them, to be a taste tester of certain foods that may be offered.”

Getting ready for Saturday: Terre Haute Convention Center getting ready for the grand opening

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaWanted: Convention goers: The East Corridor of the Terre Haute Convention Center can be seen here Wednesday.

Executive chef Sunny Workman, aided by Stefen Huskinson, catering manager at the Utah Valley Convention Center, worked on dishes for upcoming events.

“Sunny wasn’t there at the time, so I came up with the menu that we’re doing for the grand opening and for the VIPs at the grand opening,” said Huskinson, who was busy preparing food for the appreciation dinner. Huskinson works for Spectra Venue Management, now called OVG350, which also manages the Terre Haute Convention Center.

Huskinson made caprese stuffing “with cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. I’m stuffing this into airplane chicken breasts. We’re going to fry them in the oven, which will make a nice crispy skin with a nice juicy center,” he said.

Getting ready for Saturday: Terre Haute Convention Center getting ready for the grand opening

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaView from Conference Room: Terre Haute Convention Center guests will have access to a unique view of Wabash Avenue when using the conference room on the second floor.

Workman said the conference center kitchen “is a stunning state-of-the-art kitchen. We have two combination ovens, which use steam and heat to cook. We have all the brand name amenities, from tipping kettles to the all new range and fryers,” Workman said, as well as a dishwasher system that washes, rinses and dries dishes as they are moved along. a conveyor.

A wide range vent “is technically an air conditioner. You can determine which air is blowing whether it is winter or summer. This helps cooks maintain body temperature, so they’re not really cold and food stays at the temperature it needs,” Workman said. “That’s what a chef would ask if he could imagine his dream kitchen.

“It’s just amazing. This is the largest kitchen in the state for a building this size,” Workman said.

For the public grand opening on Saturday, breakfast samples will be available, followed by a lunch sample.

“We try to use local vendors,” said Workman, who previously served as executive chef at Terre Haute Stables from 2016 to 2018. Some examples include cheese and “rustic belt sausage” from Baesler Market in Terre Haute. and other meats from The Smoking Goose. Meatery and Goose The Market in Indianapolis.

Getting ready for Saturday: Terre Haute Convention Center getting ready for the grand opening

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaPreparing for opening day: Terre Haute Convention Center employee Mark Reyher unrolls the curtains of vendor booths on Wednesday in preparation for the center’s opening.

A sample of other upcoming events at the convention center include a Grand Opening Welcome Gala on April 23, which will include a ceremonial dinner, keynote speakers and live jazz music. There is also a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the Wabash Valley Breast Cancer Survivors Group.

Tickets for this event can be obtained by contacting the convention center at Tickets are $50 per person or $450 per table of 10. One drink ticket per guest is included with the meal, cash bar afterwards.

On April 28, the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club hosts an event, followed by the Swope Art Museum’s annual Marilyn Wheeler Pendergast Spring Dinner on May 1.

Construction of the center began in late April 2020. The total project cost is $34.89 million; the actual construction cost was $27.21 million.

The county issued a $22 million general bond funded by a 1% food and beverage tax. Other funds used include county EDIT funds, Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau funds, and Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission funds. The food and beverage tax generates over $2.1 million annually. Construction started at the end of April 2020.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter @TribStarHoward.


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