By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Oxford Conference Center officials hope they will attract even more events after upgrades are completed that include furnishings, interior décor and audio-visual system.
The Tourism Council recently approved a nearly $50,000 replacement of its carpet and a nearly $12,000 paint job for all the building’s interior except meeting rooms. Members also approved more than $70,000 for new chairs for all meeting rooms, including the banquet hall that seats more than 600 people.
Tourism officials have admitted in the past that Oxford Conference Center lost some events – wedding receptions, primarily – purely because of the busy design and bold colors in the original carpet.
Hollis Green, the facility’s executive director said the renovations are being done as quickly as possible.
“We’re hopeful it will be completed before January first,” he said. “It’s part of an ongoing process to upgrade here.
“We just finished (in October) upgrading our A-V equipment with a new video screen, new projector, replacement of all our systems, which were nine years old. Nine years is a long time for that kind of equipment.”
Green said several factors such as the economy and the location of one hotel adjacent and the promise of another now under construction have boosted use of the conference center.
“We’ve got our strongest December for three years, and first -quarter bookings are up,” he said. “The hotel has greatly enhanced our ability to attract multi-day events. We’ve gotten several expressly because of the hotel’s availability.”
Government-agency conferences and banquets for nonprofit groups are the primary weekday business, with weddings and other social events filling many weekends, Green said.
“I wish we had more Saturdays for weddings,” he said. “We’ve created a lot of our own events – the holiday market, the indoor yard sale – and we’re looking at having a bridal show.”