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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Officials hope conference center will boost economy

  • Lindsborg will celebrate the opening of the new $2.3 million Sundstrom Conference Center this weekend.
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  • Lindsborg will celebrate the opening of the new $2.3 million Sundstrom Conference Center this weekend.
    The center has 9,000 square feet on its lower floor, which includes a 3,600-square-foot banquet hall that can accommodate up to 300 people seated or up to 450 people for a dance.
    The center is at the corner of Lincoln and Main and replaced the historic J.O. Sundstrom building, which was recently demolished.
    Community leaders at one point wished to preserve the original building, which was built in 1879 as a general store by local businessman J.O. Sundstrom. However, the structure was deemed to be structurally unsound.
    In its place, the city built the new conference center, which was designed to mimic the architecture of the original historic building right down to the lettering on the side of the building.
    In addition to the main banquet hall, the center has smaller gathering spaces that can be rented separately and simultaneously to the banquet hall. These include a commons hall that will accommodate 50 to 75 people, a foyer that will accommodate up to 25 people and a conference room that will accommodate up to 12 people. Each of these additional rooms have their own entrances, which means the center can operate four events at a time, Katie Partida, manager, said.
    Partida recently moved to Lindsborg where she worked for 10 years with Perfect Touch, an event coordinating company.
    Full in-house catering, beverage and bar service will be offered through the center's kitchen. However, Partida said the center will be contracting with some local businesses for services. The center is still hiring wait staff, kitchen staff and bartenders. When the center is fully operational, including its upper level, it will employ about 40 staff members.
    The center already has about 20 events scheduled, including a wedding for 200 next August.
    The upper floor of the center remains unfinished. Partida said officials hope to have this 7,000 square feet of additional open space finished by the end of the year. Completing the second phase of the project after the lower floor was opened to the public was in the original plans.
    This space will be able to accommodate 300 to 450 people or a trade show with 24 8-by-10-foot booths.
    An oversized elevator can be used to move displays or equipment to the upper level.
    Partida said she anticipates the center will boost Lindsborg's economy.
    "As people come here for weddings or parties, the designers have people parking on Main or Lincoln streets. As people walk past these cute little shops, we hope they go in and buy something," Partida said. "We also hope they will come back and bring their families on a later day for a vacation."
    She also anticipates conferences and other events will boost business for the city's inns and eating establishments.
    Page 2 of 2 - The center will celebrate its grand opening with a gala Saturday night. Reservations for that event are closed.
    A free open house, which will include tours of the new facility, will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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