Convention center building back through pandemic | News, Sports, Jobs – Altoona Mirror



The authority that manages the Blair County Convention Center is hoping that events through the end of the year will land the facility in the black.

President and Chief Executive Chef Tom Schilling recently told the county Convention Center and Sports Facilities Authority that based on scheduled events and sales projections, he thinks the facility will finish the year between $75,000 in the red and $50,000 in the black.

“I think it will be more toward the positive side,” said Schilling, who said his prediction was an “educated guess.”

The convention center’s business was decimated in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related gathering restrictions.

During a January review of the 2021 budget, it was predicted that business would improve in the second half of the year.

Schilling offered a financial report to the authority, showing 2021’s year-to-date revenue at $1,026,956 and expenses at $990,000, a difference of $36,779. In the 2019 fiscal year — before the pandemic — the convention center took in $2.2 million in revenue.

Authority members commended Schilling for the report and efforts to rebuild the facility’s business.

“In light of everything that’s going on, hats off to you,” said Vice Chairman Dan Taddei.

In response, Schilling praised former convention center General Manager and CEO Barry Kumpf, who retired in 2019, for efforts that continue to help the convention center attract business.

“The foundation was built a long time ago with Barry Kumpf,” Schilling said.

Schilling also offered the authority members a list of capital improvements for the convention center that he said should be pursued over the next five years.

For the 2022 fiscal year, Schilling recommended — and the authority agreed — to move forward with some heating, ventilating and air conditioning improvements expected to cost about $82,000.

Other items to be considered in 2022 include computer, software and server upgrades, replacement of the garage’s fire exit doors, replacement of light bulbs for energy savings, upgrading the center’s malfunctioning road sign and repairs/regrouting of the facility’s balcony.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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