Storm damages Shreveport Convention Center

By Jeff Ferrell - bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Storm damage to the Shreveport Convention Center could approach a quarter of a million dollars according to some estimates.

From a distance the convention center appeared to have escaped the wrath of Thursday's severe weather.  But a closer look reveals the full extent of the damage.  Shattered glass covered the front end of the convention center, with at least 62-glass panels broken.  Luckily, we're told, only the exteriors of the double-paned windows broke.

It's a scene worse than first thought.  "Oh yes, it is.  It's a lot more than I thought from our initial because when we did our initial walk-thru it was dark," explained General Manager Sam Voisan.

With the light of day the full impact of the storm became crystal clear.  That included a hole punctured into the limestone facade on the west wall of the convention center, along with a broken security gate below the hole.  Even the remnants of a billboard from two blocks away were found nearby.  That was just ground level.

During the storm, personnel on the second floor had quickly gone into a central room for safety.  Voisan recalled, "walking out of my office at a fast sprint, leaves in the facility, was one clue that we had an opening somewhere."

Those fierce winds peeled back, and in some cases threw off, some of the metal corner seals on the rooftop and flipped over large air vents.  Inspection crews even found a tree limb responsible for at least one of the punctures to the roof.

While Mother Nature delivered the powerful blow, a turn in the weather could now prove helpful.  Voisan concluded, "what it looks like is the weather forecast is going to give us a little relief so that will give us some repair time to go ahead and take care of business."

Luckily, there are no weekend events.  And we're told the Shreveport Convention Center 'will' be ready for the start of a 4-day regional conference for two thousand math and science teachers starting Monday, even as repairs continue.

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