"We have our catering facilities, which will have to be repositioned, near that area. It's actually accessed through the Grand Hall. You have to put up a curtain in the Grand Hall to reach the catering area if you have more than one activity going on.
"I'm actually floating the idea of having a design contest, a request for qualifications," he said. Ideally the city would get several proposals and could choose the best.
"What we'd like to do is not only develop the additional space ... but develop a master plan to update the appearance of the facility. As you drive by, it's tired looking. It doesn't present itself well as a convention facility."
He'd also like to update the interior spaces. "The mall did that recently. It looks fresh and new."
All that will cost a lot -- up to $50 million, Molgaard estimates -- which is why the administration is concentrating on the money side of the project now.
City Council took two steps Monday toward Jones' goal of adding a half-cent city sales tax under the state home-rule pilot program. The idea is to use the expected tax revenues -- a net $3.6 million a year if the city also lowers or eliminates some business and occupation taxes -- to pay off a bond issue for the Civic Center.
Campbell said Beni Kedem leaders might be willing to deal, especially with a new potentate, Lawrence Bolling, about to be inaugurated this weekend.
"It could be had for the right price," Campbell said.
That was news to Molgaard. "We have not given any additional thought to approaching Beni Kedem," he said. "We thought we exhausted that possibility several years ago."
He's willing to talk though. "If they want to broach the subject, they can call me.
"We didn't have the resources to pursue $9 million [in 2007]," he said. "Now we do have a plan and resources. But $9 million out of $40 [million] to $50 million -- that's 25 percent.
"Not that we wouldn't want to pursue that property. That was our first choice. For whatever reason, they weren't at that point then."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.