Orange County Convention Center
This 2.9 million square-foot Orange County Convention Center doubled the existing facility to make Orlando one of the top convention destinations in the world. Adding over one million square feet of exhibition space, the new facility was, at time of completion, one of only two in the nation capable of handling the largest annual conventions with over 60,000 delegates.
The Orange County Convention Center expansion's exhibition space can be divided into four individual halls. To facilitate the Convention Center’s ability to house large shows and conventions, steel trusses span 180-foot column bays in the main exhibit hall to create an open air and column-free environment. The exterior complements the existing facility with pre-cast and curtain wall skin. Approximately 3,600 parking spaces are located on the site, including 24 foot-wide truck entrances and loading docks.
The expansion allows pedestrian access to all of the hotels, restaurants, and other area night spots, creating a district for conventioneers as well as their family and friends. Additionally, the expansion is connected to the existing facility via a “Gateway Connector” over the bustling International Drive. This elevated pedestrian walkway features retail and food service outlets that cater to the delegates and offer fare from Orlando’s finest establishments.
During the early budgeting stages, it was determined that no single electrical or mechanical contractor in the Orlando area had the bonding capacity or manpower to complete all of the electrical and mechanical work on the project. During the design, Clark met with all the major electrical and mechanical subcontractors in central Florida to develop a plan to staff the job with an adequate number of tradesmen. The project’s mechanical and electrical systems were broken down into smaller construction packages, which addressed manpower and bonding issues while maximizing local participation. The plan was implemented, and the project was completed on-time and within budget.