Report details possible plans for Century II

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s a big question, what should the city of Wichita do with its performing arts and convention center?

The first steps in trying to answer that question took place at a city council workshop Tuesday night.

The city paid nearly $300,000 for a study on the future of Century II.

On Tuesday night, that consulting firm, ARUP, based out of San Francisco, presented their findings to city leaders, as well as community members.

The nearly two-hour presentation concentrated on two schemes.

One includes renovating the current structure, the other, talks about starting over.

Wichita resident Kathy Camden says there was a lot of information to digest but felt it was important to attend the meeting.

“Just to be informed, you know, we pay taxes, people want to know what’s happening, this is our future, and I like to have information and be a part of it,” said Camden.

Several studies have been done over the past four years.

This includes a market and economic assessment done in 2013 and a facility assessment done in May of 2016.

ARUP was tasked with examining the proposals to upgrade the 48-year old facility and how all of that could be funded.

“I think it will will help us kinda identity what capacity we have financially, currently, and then what sort of challenges are needed whether it’s a tax or some kind of private funding that supports that movement forward,” said John D’Angelo, Manager of Division of Arts & Cultural Services.

Taking a closer look at the two ideas that Wichita officials liked, the first plan would basically remodel the current building.

A couple pros of that idea include keeping all operations together in one place and keeping Century II in Wichita’s skyline.

However, it doesn’t add any space or parking. It’s estimated to cost close to $272 million.

The other option would demolish the current building and add parking, plus space for an urban park. It’s expected to cost close to $492 million.

“One of the real major challenges is how do you keep the user groups in the building while you try to do a major renovation? So that’s going to be a real challenge to try to figure out,” said D’Angelo.

City Manager Robert Layton wrapped up the presentation. He touched on wanting to keep some things at the facility intact, like the blue dome building at Century II.

“I think it is important we respect the history of C2 and what it means to the community but that we do it in a way that assures our success in the future,” said Layton.

The meeting tonight was strictly informational and no public comments were given.

Layton says engaging the community would be the next step in the process.

He wants that process to be led by an independent third-party by the end of this year.

To view the City of Wichita’s PowerPoint presentation on Century II click here.


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