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Commissioners committee recommends architectural firm for new events center

Proposal will go before full Cumberland board on Nov. 21


A committee of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved a staff-recommended architectural firm to design a new events center.

The center would replace the theater and arena at the Crown Coliseum Complex. Those facilities are scheduled to close in 2025.

The Crown Event Center Committee voted 2-0 to send the recommendation to hire San Diego-based Ewing Cole to the full Board of Commissioners.

The vote came during a called meeting of the committee at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

Ewing Cole is a national architectural firm with offices in Charlotte and Raleigh.

Members of the county selection committee received 11 proposals for the contract from architectural firms. Those were narrowed down to five firms that were invited to interview for the contract. The selection committee includes County Manager Amy Cannon, Assistant County Manager Brian Haney, Chief Finance Officer Vicki Evans, County Engineering Director Jermaine Walker, and Assistant County Engineer Rick Bryant.

Nonvoting members include employees of the county’s construction project management team.

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The selection committee spent two days interviewing architectural design candidates and ranked them. Ewing Cole ranked first among the five finalists. Cannon told the commissioners that Ewing Cole initially did not rank as high in her opinion until she heard its presentation. That, she said, put the firm a cut above the remaining four contenders.

Matt DeSilver, of MBP Carolinas, the county’s project manager and owner’s representative for the Crown Event Center project, said the finalists were scored on these criteria:

  • Team roles and responsibilities and communications plan.
  • Relevant project experience of team members.
  • Approach to design in urban location.
  • Approach to schedule management.
  • Experience with construction manager at risk delivery method.

Voting to accept the staff committee’s recommendation were Commissioners Glenn Adams and Jimmy Keefe. Commissioner Jeannette Council, who chairs the committee, was absent.

The committee members viewed a presentation on conceptual interior designs by DeSilver.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss the recommendation at its Nov. 21 meeting. It would vote on a proposed contract on Nov. 28.

Adams said he would like to see a representation of what the outside of the building would look like. If it does not appeal to the public, people won’t attend events held there, he said. Cannon assured Adams that according to the design proposal, it will have a “wow” factor both outside and inside.

Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView. He can be reached at jbrady@cityviewnc.com.

Cumberland County, Crown Complex, events center