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New Lake Placid Conference Center on schedule

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Work continues on a multimillion dollar conference center in Lake Placid. Local officials say will provide a huge boost to the area's economy when it needs it the most - during the spring and the fall. Construction of the new, 56,000-square foot facility, which was on hold for nearly two months this year due to the state's budget crisis, is now scheduled to be completed in March. Chris Knight toured the construction site with officials from the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and filed this report.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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The inside of what will eventually become the Lake Placid Conference Center right now looks like a large, steel-framed warehouse full of building materials, construction equipment and about 20 contractors plugging away at various jobs.

Although a few interior walls have gone up, primarily on the third floor, it's not easy for the untrained eye to get a sense of what the interior of the $18 million conference center will look like when its done.

But ORDA's Bob Hammond, who knows the blueprints better than anyone, tries to paint a picture of the final product using the lines on the floor and the rows of steel columns that span the building.

Five years in the making, the new Lake Placid Conference Center is about five-and-a-half months away from its scheduled completion date. During a hard-hat tour of the construction site Friday, Hammond said the project should be substantially complete by mid-March and ready to host its first conference in May, if all goes according to plan.

He said the project is on schedule and on budget.

"It's been pretty smooth. We've got a good group of contractors and our construction manager is facilitating cooperation and communication. That's what it's really about when you have this many prime contractors on a job."

That wasn't the case just a few months ago when a budget crisis in Albany brought construction of the conference center, and numerous other state-funded projects, to a halt. Work eventually resumed in June after a nearly two-month break, forcing ORDA to move the projected completion date of the conference center back from January to March.

When its up and running, James McKenna, head of the Lake Placid Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the conference center will boost Lake Placid's economy in the spring, fall and parts of the winter. 

"If we can get ourselves in a position that can generate mid-week business in the spring and the fall, all of a sudden the businesses in the area become less seasonal, employees can become more full-time and hopefully benefits will start coming back to the community. It's part of the long range plan of community growth is having that conference center come in."

Coupled with renovations to the adjacent 1932 rink, the conference center will be able to accomodate up to 2,000 people, McKenna said.

While ORDA will run the facility, the visitor's bureau is in charge of booking it's conferences and meetings. McKenna said at least eight groups have already signed on to host their conferences at the facility in 2011.

For NCPR, I'm Chris Knight in Lake Placid.

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