CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - "The Bible says just a mustard seed, that's all it takes. And that's what it started with… a mustard seed" said Police Juror, Sandy Treme at Thursday's groundbreaking for a new indoor events center in part with the already existing outdoor arena.
"This is going to support all of Calcasieu," said Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan. "The Burton is full, the Civic Center is full, [this] can bring different venues to our community. It's going to be a great economic boost for our community" said Mayor Duncan.
Currently, the West Cal Arena is home to outdoor events like rodeos, concerts and festivals. Now, with the addition of the new indoor facility, organizers hope to bring a lot more business to the area.
"It's been a long time coming," said Executive Director of the West Calcasieu Community Center, Adrian Moreno. "I think everyone is going to be proud to have this facility here in southwest Louisiana and it's going to benefit the entire area".
The new facility will boast a 45,000 square foot multi-purpose center and a 15,000 square foot main banquet hall that will be able to be split into three separate rooms. In total, the facility will cost just less than ten million dollars. A financial feat that Moreno says had always been an obstacle, until now.
"The funding has been the main issue," said Moreno. "We had the arena built in 2005 and we finished paying that off and we're at a point where we can move forward with this building here".
Louisiana State Senator, Ronnie Johns has been a main proponent in the funding and execution of the plan. He had a special announcement to make at the groundbreaking.
"As it [the bill] left the session Monday night as we adjourned at six o'clock, we have 4 million dollars in Priority 1 and an additional 1.5 million dollars in Priority 5 for this new facility" said Senator Johns.
According to Moreno and Mayor Duncan, the facility will also allow an economic boost for the area.
Moving forward, Moreno says that plans for the future have been set. Within a week, he hopes to give contractors a notice to proceed followed by the beginning of construction. In the spring of 2014, after about 20 months, he hopes to open the doors to the new facility.