Construction progresses

Walls, roof going up at the Briggs Woods Conference Center

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship Construction work is continuing at the new conference center located at Briggs Woods Golf Course. The project, delayed slightly by the wet spring conditions, is expected to be completed in early winter of this year. With the walls up, officials expect the roof to go on soon. The venue, with moveable walls, will allow configurations for groups as small as just a few people or gatherings as large as 400. A state-of-the-art audio/visual system is also being installed, according to officials.

The walls are up and the roof is going on soon at the new Briggs Woods Conference Center.

Because of the April snow and wet spring that followed, there have been some delays in construction, but Kelly Haman, events coordinator, said the venue will likely be finished by early winter.

“There’s definitely been a lot of progress lately,” she said.

In the past week, the crews have been working on plumbing and other interior tasks so that the concrete floor can be poured. Haman said the roof should be going up possibly this week.

Once the roof is on, work inside the structure should really take off, according to County Supervisor Doug Bailey.

Though bookings are not yet being taken for the new conference center, as soon as the completion date is known, Haman said that announcement will be made.

“We want to be certain of the completion date before we begin to accept bookings for 2019,” she said. “We’ll make that announcement of when we will begin to take bookings as we get closer to finishing the project.”

The building, adjacent to the Briggs Woods Golf Course, will offer seating for an estimated 400 people in a setting with round tables. With the flexibility of movable walls, the space could also be pared down to comfortably accommodate smaller, more intimate gatherings.

“One of the rooms will seat around 200, another can fit around 100 and another around 80,” she said, adding that the board room will accommodate up to 30 people.

“We have a lot of capacity here,” she said.

The building also has a large reception/lobby area.

“This is a nice gathering area, so that when conferences come in and need to set up vendor booths, registration tables or something like that, they don’t have to take away from the seating area,” she said.

Outside, the new facility will offer an events gazebo which Haman said could serve as a beautiful ceremony site. A landscaped patio area on the west side of the conference center and adjacent to the club house will provide additional gathering space.

For weddings, Haman said couples will be able to entrust many of the preparations to the event center staff, for food and beverages, setup of tables and seating, and other wedding day details.

“This will be a complete full-service venue,” she said. “Really, for weddings, the only thing the couples have to do is meet with me to get some details on the books, then we carry it out for them. It will take a lot of the stress out of the day. All they have to do is bring in the table decorations.”

The venue will also boast a state-of-the art audio/visual system and access to the Internet for businesses or groups wishing to hold meetings, trainings or conferences, according to Bailey.

“This will be a really top-class venue,” he said. “It can provide an opportunity for companies in the area to stay close to home for meetings and trainings.”

“With this venue we can have a speaker here that’s webcasting out to points around the country, or vice-versa – bring someone in via the web,” Bailey said.

He said the audio system will eliminate the need for floor microphones since the mics will be mounted in the ceiling and will be voice-activated, which should improve the clarity of the sound.

“With the cost of transportation and travel, if you can do things from remote sites and bring people together in a way that is technologically sophisticated, that creates efficiency,” he said.

Bailey and fellow supervisor, Dan Campidilli did a tour of facilities in Des Moines earlier this year.

“We couldn’t find a place in Des Moines that has what we will have here,” he said “We really think we’ll have an edge on business-type events. And our location with Highway 20 and Interstate 35 makes that much easier.”

Haman said the center’s primary marketing area is a 50 mile radius of Webster City. The secondary marketing area encompasses a 200-mile area.

“So we are really reaching out,” she said.

That should also help Hamilton County economically as well, since visitors will stay in motels, buy gas and shop the stores in the area as well, Haman said.

“We’re hoping it will be a good deal for everyone,” she said.