By Mary Alice Murphy

At the end of the Tuesday Grant County Commission work session, the commissioners recessed and reconvened at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center, where after a tour, they adjourned.

Commission Chairman Brett Kasten led the tour and noted that what he was suggesting was his wish list, and was just a starting point for what the facility will become.

The south-facing east entrance, Kasten suggested could become, with changes to the lobby area and incorporating the present Fort Bayard Room, the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce offices and eastside visitor center.

"They are working with the Silver City Arts and Cultural District, so they are not in competition," Kasten noted.

The group walked westward through a warren of small offices and walkways toward the main entrance to the center. Kasten said Ace Hardware had requested more space from the building and he sketchily marked off the approximate delineations of what would become part of Ace Hardware.

Because the electrical systems work throughout the building, one of the challenges will be to separate the electrical systems of the conference center from that of Ace Hardware.

In the west portion of the conference center, he pointed to an area where an additional set of bathrooms could be placed to augment those on the east side of the building.

The back part of the building is likely to be split up into two large meeting rooms, with accordion doors in each to effectively split the area up into four rooms. A storage area was also pointed out.

Kasten pointed to what used to be the loading dock, and with moving part of the Corre Caminos fence, could again be a loading dock for large items or bands or the like.

The eastern-most light-filled room would likely become a commercial kitchen.

The large room on the south side of the building will remain a large space, but the sound in the room will need to be improved. It was suggested that the carpet be replaced with solid flooring for more options for the space.

Kasten said the next step for the county is to "start chasing money," with a couple of ideas in mind.

He said, of course, these were just his ideas and he welcomed input from the other commissioners.

Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments executive director, Priscilla Lucero, said the county would likely be able to tap into incentives for energy efficiency.

The county owns the building and wants to bring the interior up to a standard where a convention or large gathering, such as interim legislative committees could find space to hold the events.

The number of hotel rooms in the area will limit the capacity of a convention, but if successful events are held, it may draw in more facilities.

Live from Silver City

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