Pasadena Convention Center Renovation & Expansion

Completed 46 Days Ahead of Schedule
Through the collaboration between Clark’s project team, the subcontractors, PCOC and the City of Pasadena, portions of the expansion were opened weeks ahead of schedule. It took a tremendous amount of teamwork to meet the goals established for the project. We are proud that the diligent efforts put forth by the PCOC and our partners, including Clark Construction, resulted in a magnificent facility that will meet our city’s needs for years to come.
Michael Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Pasadena Center Operating Company
Pasadena, California
Pasadena Center Operating Company
219,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

The Pasadena Convention Center Expansion project added 219,000 square feet to the existing facility. The expansion included a new exhibit hall, a ballroom, meeting spaces, and administrative, service, and common areas. Clark collaborated with the owner to complete the project ahead of schedule and in time for their opening event of choice.

The Pasadena Convention Center Expansion nearly triples the convention center’s original meeting and event space. Fentress Architects' design emphasized flexibility, efficient circulation, and user convenience and allowed the facility to host multiple events simultaneously. The Pasadena Convention Center can be configured to hold 31 meeting rooms with 108,000 square feet of total meeting space. The exhibit hall can be divided into two rooms, or combined with the adjacent grand ballroom for an open, 88,000 square-foot space. The ballroom can break down into 10 individual meeting rooms. The addition of 75,000 square feet of outdoor event space, including a grand upper terrace nestled by the auditorium, provides outdoor prefunction or event space. When not supporting the facility’s meeting or exhibition capabilities, the grand ballroom is the hallmark space. At 25,000 square feet, the room can host 2,000 people for a formal dinner or 3,500 for a reception. 

The expansion also added 7,500 square feet of administrative space. This area houses the center’s staff, as well as a visitor center and the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau. A user-friendly layout creates clear and direct circulation routes for fundamental activities, such as user wayfinding and food services. State-of-the-art audio, video, and technology services add to the convention and exhibition experience. Additionally, the facility is supported by an 8,500 square-foot commercial kitchen, seven loading docks, and a parking garage with room for more than 800 cars. 

Two years into the project, the owner approached Clark with a request to complete the expansion six weeks ahead of schedule. The convention center had booked the California Police Chiefs Annual (CPCA) Conference for the first week of March 2009, and the owner wanted it to be the first event held in the new facility. The design and construction team worked together to expedite the construction process, and craftsmen from the most affected trades were on-site around the clock, working in multiple shifts six days a week. The Pasadena Convention Center Expansion project received a Certificate of Occupancy on February 27, 2009, six weeks ahead of the original schedule and in time for the CPCA event.

Local Hiring

Clark and the project team took great measures to ensure that the local community was considered first when hiring for the job. The owner and the project team established goals for hiring and purchasing from the local community and, in every instance, the goals were met. To promote the project and attract talent, the project team held a business opportunity fair for local contractors and vendors. Eighteen local companies received contracts on the project and more than 100 others were used for miscellaneous goods over the life of the project. Clark also worked with Alta Pasa Community Improvement Center to develop a pre-apprenticeship class that provided 10 weeks of training for local applicants. The class graduated 31 people, all of whom were sponsored into unions. Twenty-three of the graduates were dispatched to work on the project.


The Pasadena Convention Center Expansion project earned LEED Gold certification, which would make it one of the greenest meeting facilities in the country. To align with Pasadena’s goal of reducing energy use in city-owned buildings, the convention center’s energy system realizes a 23 percent savings over baseline projections. The facility was outfitted with daylighting controls, occupancy sensors, fans and pumps with variable speed drives, demand-controlled ventilation, and superior glazing. The convention center’s lighting features energy-efficient fixture types, including metal halide, fluorescent, and quartz. The structure is conditioned by a hybrid gas/electric rooftop system. Additionally, the construction team diverted more than 98 percent of construction waste from landfills, and more than 90 percent of building materials consisted of recycled materials.


With time at a premium, Clark and the subcontractors relied on BIM to avoid conflicts and to minimize or avoid rework in the field. BIM was used in all MEP coordination and was particularly helpful in mapping and relocating the facility’s grease duct. Avoiding the relocation saved the owner a potential cost and schedule change. 


Despite being located in a busy urban center, the project was overwhelmingly safe, both for the nearby community and workers. Heavy demolition and construction activities occurred just to the west of the Civic Auditorium. Remaining operational through the project, the venue regularly hosted major events, including American Idol and The American Latin Music Awards, as well as ongoing community activities. Clark worked closely with the owner to mitigate any potential conflicts. Clark and its subcontractors worked 587,811 manhours on the project with no lost-time incidents.

California Construction Magazine - Best of 2009, Government/Public