July 23, 2008

The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau will spend $250,000 to "green" the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the Puerto Rico Coliseum and other aspects of the Convention District. The money will fund various initiatives, including the installation of automated air-conditioning and lighting-control systems, as well as the planting of native foliage that requires less water for landscaping. The goal is to reduce water use by 30 percent and electrical use by 50 percent. Following these modifications, building officials will apply for LEED certification.

Funding has been secured for a $16 million expansion of the Saratoga Springs City Center, the city's major convention facility, 30 miles north of Albany, N.Y. Plans call for expanding the center's contiguous exhibit space and adding a separate, glass-enclosed meeting and banquet facility. A total of 18,000 square feet of space will add to the current 52,000 square feet available. According to Mark Baker, president of the City Center, once the project is completed, the average group size will range from 600 to 800 attendees, up from the current average of 400 to 600. Construction on the addition is expected to begin early next year, and the center will remain open while work progresses. Completion is projected for early 2010.