The $325 million expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio was unveiled today. The undertaking has been the largest capital project in the city's history. During grand-opening ceremonies, "Liquid Crystal," an art installation by Jason Bruges was unveiled in the center's new lobby atrium. The piece features 3,510 LCD interactive panels that create a digital fountain effect; the flow depends on the number of people and activity in the atrium.
The facility now offers 514,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 270,000 square feet of new exhibit space, 85,000 square feet of column-free multipurpose space, a 54,000-square-foot ballroom, 70 meeting rooms, and a wraparound balcony with views of downtown and the River Walk. With the eco-friendly design, energy-reduction measures were used during the construction, and several flexible meeting areas were added. Throughout, technology has been updated to increase data speeds.
"It means incredible opportunities for us to be able to accommodate larger and more varied convention events," Mayor Ivy Taylor told the San Antonio Express-News. "But also, it allows for us to continue the redevelopment of Hemisfair Park and Alamo Plaza."
The first convention in the new space will be the Texas Music Educators Association, which begins Feb. 10. The facility's original structure, built in 1968, now will be demolished to make way for the expansion of Hemisfair Park and creating space for outdoor events.