New GM has big plans for Event Center

March 20, 2012

Summary: Keller Taylor, the new General Manager of the Cherokee Strip Conference Center is already thinking ahead to the 2013 opening of Enid Event Center and the renovation of Convention Hall. These two buildings, which are immediately adjacent to Cherokee Strip, will give the city an entirely new convention center and event center in which to hold public events.

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March 8, 2012

New general manager has big plans for conference, Renaissance event centers

ENID — Keller Taylor has big plans for Cherokee Strip Conference Center, Convention Hall and the Enid Renaissance Project event center, as well as a positive vision for where the facilities can take downtown Enid.

Taylor took over as general manager of Cherokee Strip Conference Center this month after being named to the post by Global Spectrum, a public venue management company that operates the conference center for the city of Enid. Taylor will take over as general manager of Convention Hall and the new event center when they are opened.

In his duties here, Taylor will oversee day-to-day operations of the conference center, including its move into Convention Hall, which is being renovated as part of the $24 million Enid Renaissance Project.

Convention Hall renovations are expected to be completed this fall. The building will feature a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, a 3,000-square-foot junior ballroom and more than 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

The event center will be a 73,000-square-foot facility, including 31,000 square feet of floor space and a seating capacity of 3,270 for sporting events and 3,665 for concerts. It is expected to open in spring 2013.

The future of the current Cherokee Strip Conference Center, including the historic Kress Building, remains undetermined.

City of Enid spokeswoman Becky Hodgen said the city is assessing its plans for the conference center after completion of the Enid Renaissance Project.

“All options are on the table for the Cherokee Strip Conference Center and we will be diligently looking at those to find the best fit for its future,” Hodgen said.

Taylor said his first task in his new job will be to acquaint himself with his staff and facilities.

“Like any organization, the important thing starting out is just getting to know the people, and I’m working on getting to know the city staff, the current staff here and the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) staff,” he said. “The next step will be getting to know the facility and becoming more acquainted with the event center and Convention Hall projects.”

Taylor said he and his staff already are working on marketing and booking events for Convention Hall and the new event center.

“We’re working right now on a general marketing and awareness plan for the new project,” he said. “Working through that marketing plan will be the initial way we get people to know the project is here, that we’re going to have a diverse set of events happening here and letting them know what’s coming.

“We’re already working on marketing the event center and Enid to promoters and acts we think will be interested in that space. With that, we’re working on knowing what Enid wants and will support, and making sure we offer a wide variety of events you would see anywhere else.”

Taylor said once the Enid Renaissance Project is complete, it and downtown will, to an extent, market themselves.

“People will inherently want to come see the new facilities, and experience the dining and shopping we have to offer downtown,” he said. “We’ll definitely see some increased traffic downtown once everything is up and running next summer. It will put Enid more on the map, and we’ll be able to book some events that will draw people in from other areas. Once they get here, they’ll recognize there’s a great culture here, a lot of history and some great options for dining out and shopping.

“The next 12 months are going to be very exciting, and when the dust settles it will be great to be in Enid,” Taylor said. “I’m excited to be here, and the community has been great in welcoming me. I’m always open to chatting with anyone who wants to stop by and visit.”

Taylor received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina in 2006, a master of business administration in 2008 and a master of sports administration and facility management from Ohio University in 2009.

He most recently was director of event operations for Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, Texas, home to the Texas Stars hockey club of the American Hockey League and the Austin Toros, an NBA Development League team.

Taylor and his wife of five years, Sarah, have one son, 17-month-old Wyn. The couple have purchased a home and now reside in Enid.

Go to http://enidnews.com/localnews/x2029121391/New-general-manager-has-big-plans-for-conference-Renaissance-event-centers

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