News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Construction at The Trade, Exhibit and Events Center is 88 to 92 percent done, and there is still no management agreement. City leaders also don't know what to call the place.
We took an exclusive hard hat tour of the TEE Center.
"The neatest thing to me is the size of the exhibit hall. 38,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. It will accommodate a lot of things that Augusta hasn't been able to do in the past," said Project Manager Jim Cely, who noted the center can center 1,800 people.
The kitchen is already fully operational. It will feed both the existing Marriott Convention Center and the new TEE Center.
"We are approximately 88 to 92 percent [done]," Cely said.
The announcement come as the city administrator confirms there is still no management agreement in place.
"Hopefully we are going to be able to eliminate some of the drama," said City Administrator Fred Russell. "But still, Augusta is going to be Augusta."
Russell notes the city still doesn't know what to call the place.
"I think what you got there is the TEE Center at the Convention Center which is combined with the Conference Center," said Russell with a smile.
The visitor's bureau calls it the TEE Center. The attached hotel calls it the Augusta Convention Center at The Marriott.
"Building a building or creating a university is not the hard part," Russell said. "It is always what we call them."
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and workers show no sign of slowing down.
"It has been a challenging project," Cely said, "but it is coming together, and it is going to be a great facility."
The construction is expected to finish in November. The first group is expected to come in January. The administrator says he hopes the management deal will be ready "soon."