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The official groundbreaking for the 167,000-square-foot expansion of the South Wing of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center (KFEC) in Louisville is scheduled for Sept. 24, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Although the groundbreaking will take place next month, the actual construction will not begin until shortly after the RVIA-sponsored National RV Trade Show at the KFEC Dec. 2-4.
The South Wing expansion, which was delayed for a year due to Kentucky’s financial difficulties, should be finished in time for the RV industry’s national trade show late in 2005.
The expanded South Wing will provide the 2005 version of the National RV Trade Show with much-needed space, although KFEC officials plan to demolish the KFEC’s East Hall in 2006. As a result, space will be as tight for the 2006 show as it will be for this year’s show and the 2004 show, according to Dave Humphreys, the RVIA’s president.
The RVIA Board is pleased with the South Wing expansion plans, but it “felt it necessary to keep RVIA’s options open and assigned the RVIA Strategic Planning Committee with the task of continuing the search for alternative sites,” according to the current edition of RVIA Today, the association’s newsletter.
Atlanta and Orlando are two cities that currently have, or will soon have convention centers large enough to satisfy the National RV Trade show’s space demands, said Mary “Mike” Hutya, the RVIA’s vice president of meetings and shows.
Orlando, which has a convention center expansion project under construction now, is one city that the RVIA staff has investigated as a possible new home for the industry’s national trade show. Atlanta is another possibility, although Hutya said its convention center is pretty well booked through 2007.
However, both Orlando’s and Atlanta’s facilities are more expensive to rent than Louisville’s, Hutya said in the RVIA Today.
“Hutya also presented the (RVIA) National Show Committee, and ensuing Executive Committee recommendation to approve a proposed contract with the KFEC through 2006 with options to extend the agreements through 2008 and 2010,” RVIA Today reports. “The (RVIA) Board supported the recommendation, directing the staff to continue with negotiations.”