Officials consider changing fabric on Convention Center wings

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convention_center wingsSAN DIEGO — San Diego Convention Center officials are proposing to replace the fabric of the facility’s iconic sails three to four years from now, according to a report scheduled to be delivered to a City Council committee Wednesday morning.

   The plan, which will be presented to the council’s Infrastructure Committee, prioritizes the center’s many needs for maintenance and capital projects.

   Convention center officials propose to fund the $11.4 million replacement of the sails in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The city of San Diego currently is in FY 2014.

   The sail replacement would be part of a major rehabilitation of the Sail Pavilion, where conventioneers and trade show attendees hold special events. The sails are what give the waterfront building its unique appearance.   Other proposed projects in the Sails Pavilion include replacing concrete, lighting and air conditioning systems.

   Two years ago, convention center Vice Chairman Steve Cushman told City News Service that the sails — at that time — were two years past their useful life.

   The report prioritizes a variety of projects throughout the convention center, assigning them a value of “five” for the most critical needs down to a “one” for the lesser items.

   Nearly 40 items were rated a “five.” Other than the sails replacement, they include converting pneumatic heating, ventilation and air-conditioning controls to digital, upgrading restrooms, getting new ice machines and improving the sound system.

   Some of the highest-priority needs are very detailed, like replacing dimmer systems for lights, purchasing a forklift and changing out an electrical transformer on the mezzanine level.

   Funding plans are being finalized, according to the report. Center officials peg the backlog of infrastructure needs at the center at $41 million.

   In the afternoon, the City Council’s Environment Committee is set to receive a report from a group that had been putting together a celebration of Balboa Park’s centennial next year. The organization is disbanding after failing to drum up much interest.

   City officials are now planning a scaled-down event to mark the park’s 100th birthday.

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