Committee approves new design concept for Fox Cities Exhibition Center

Rendering of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center (Photo courtesy City of Appleton)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- We're getting our first look at what the Expo Center planned for downtown Appleton could look like.

The design took a step forward Thursday afternoon during a committee meeting.

Members of the committee in charge of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center have some big plans for the future building's design.

"I feel good about where we are," said Appleton Mayor, Tim Hanna.

"I think the design is truly something unique," said Pam Seidl, Executive Director, Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The brand new design was unveiled to the committee Thursday by Fentress Architects. It's dubbed the "park" concept because it integrates nearby Jones Park.

"Tie the building design into the local culture and amenities, drive inspiration from the natural environment," said Michael Winters, Director of Design, Fentress Architects.

An open, public plaza area is also part of the design.

But all this excitement doesn't come without a cost.

The old design they came up with in 2011 had a cap of $29 million but this new concept will cost an extra $2 million.

Committee members say it will be worth it, though.

"This is our opportunity to set this one apart a little bit," Hanna said.

"This design is going to give us really something more, something different, something more to sell to meeting planners and really showcase the Fox Cities," Seidl said.

Seidl also says there will be big tourism benefits, "Tourism can contribute to economic development and can contribute to overall quality of life in the area."

"It'll also become a civic landmark that the people of the fox cities can be proud of," Winters said.

The leaders with the project hope to have the expo center completed by next September.

The project is funded by a hotel and model room tax hike in 10 neighboring municipalities.

Some of those include Kaukauna, Neenah, and Grand Chute.

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