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FARMINGTON — City officials are releasing several plans for possible renovations at the Farmington Civic Center in an effort to gather public opinion on how to reinvent the aging facility.

"You guys are the ones who are going to use it," architect Sergio Meza told members of the hospitality industry this afternoon during a meeting at the center. "The city needs to know what you think."

Meza's firm, Greer Stafford/SJCF Architecture Inc., has drawn up two designs for the center. One involves a 5,000-square-foot expansion, and the other calls for 3,000 square feet of extra space.

Meza said renovations will touch on every aspect of the building, from replacing the plumbing and electrical systems to creating a large outdoor event area.

Both plans also include improvements to the kitchen.

That sparked the interest of caterer Marc Weigel. He said the current facility limits what a chef can prepare.

"We can only plug in two warming units or else we blow a circuit," he said.

Meza said architects are working with a well-known kitchen consultant to create a system that would satisfy multiple needs.

Presentations on renovations at the Civic Center will continue on Tuesday with meetings at 1 and 3:30 p.m. at the center.

Renovations will cost between $8 million and $10 million, according to Cory Styron, director of the city's Park, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department. Funding will come from fees on hotel room sales, which were made possible under the Convention Center Financing Act the state Legislature passed in 2013. Styron said the act was part of an effort to promote tourism and events in cities across New Mexico.

City officials said it is too early to establish a timeline for construction on the Civic Center.

The push to spruce up the center is a welcome sign for Lewis McMullen, general manager of Clancy's Irish Cantina and administrator of the Civic Center's governmental liquor license. He said it's encouraging to see city officials trying to liven things up.

"They're doing a lot to bring some energy to town," McMullen said. "It's been great the last year or so."

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606. 

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