Sporting a bold look that features a symbolic 82 ft. tall tower and seamless integration into Jones Park, the full design of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center (FCEC) was unveiled this morning.
With 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor exhibition space, the FCEC will also include 7,300 sq. ft. of flexible pre-function space that can also serve as an expansion of the exhibition space along with additional meeting rooms and a main floor welcome area. The design also features 17,000 sq. ft. of outdoor pedestrian plaza which will provide additional programmable space for much of the year.
The signature element of the building is an 82 ft. tall LED lit tower. Its symbolism ties to 1882 when the first hydroelectric power station in the country at the Atlas Pulp and Paper mill along the Fox River in Appleton began operation. It powered two paper mills and a home along the riverfront.
Another unique feature of the FCEC is the building’s integration of the surrounding features and Jones Park. The exhibition space is actually at park level, 35 ft. below street level. With stunning views of the park from the all glass exterior walls, the facility will feature a patio with a walkout right into the park, providing a relaxing break or after-hours event space. The City is renovating Jones Park to be timed with the opening of the FCEC next fall.
The exhibition center will be owned by the City of Appleton and managed by the Radisson Paper Valley hotel. Construction of the facility will be paid for by a three percent hotel room tax collected by hotels in the 10 municipalities participating in the project. No property tax dollars are being spent to construct the building.
The municipalities involved in the project are the City of Appleton, Town of Grand Chute, City of Kaukauna, Village of Kimberly, Village of Little Chute, City of Menasha, City of Neenah, Village of Sherwood, Town of Menasha (Village of Fox Crossing) and the Town of Neenah.
The City of Appleton has committed to spending four million dollars on the project. Two million dollars was spent to purchase the land for the Fox Cities Exhibition Center from Outagamie County. The remaining two million dollars will be spent on road reconstruction work on Lawrence Street, Elm Street and W. 8th Street. Those streets border the facility, along with Jones Park and were coming due for reconstruction regardless of whether the exhibition center was built on the site.