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CS Conference Center Closing Immediately Due To Structural Dangers

*10 P.M. Update*

Hazardous conditions at the College Station Conference Center prompted the immediate closing Friday afternoon of the facility used for family reunions, special events and even church services.

Engineers are worried part of the roof could collapse on the aging building.

It's unknown when the center will reopen or even how much it will cost.

News 3 got answers from city officials on the problem and learned upcoming events are being moved to other city facilities and even hotels.

The College Station Conference Center is in dire need of repairs so much so that engineers and city staff are worried a portion of the roof could collapse after a heavy rain

Even some of the wood inside is dangerously damaged.

The news is coming as a surprise around town and especially for those with events scheduled to happen in just days.

It's a legacy that spans more than three centuries for Mike Beal's family, with an annual gathering set for Sunday.

"We have somewhere between I'll say 70 to 90 people to show up every year and this I think is our 127th year of the Beal, Bond, Closs Reunion so we're pretty proud of that. And it's quite a legacy for our family and for the community," said Mike Beal of Bryan.

He and his wife Susan's plans for Sunday are changing after College Station called to tell them the city conference center was closed indefinitely because of structural problems and their event would be moving to the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.

"We're trying to get the word out so I appreciate the fact that you're visiting with me this afternoon about it," Beal added.

The College Station Parks & Recreation Department is now making room for three displaced employees from the conference center.

Staff manned the phone lines re-booking upcoming events.

"We knew that the building had issues because it is an older building we just didn't realize how extensive they were," said David Schmitz, College Station Parks & Recreation Director.

Schmitz says they met with a structural engineer Friday morning who identified critical problems with some of the wood in the original building built in the 1940's.

The air conditioners outside are causing the roof to sag.

"One of the concerns is that if we do get a heavy rain with the water collecting and standing there that there could be enough weight for it actually to come through the ceiling," said Schmitz.

While Mike Beal is pleased with the the way the city is working to relocate their reunion, he says other events will suffer.

"It will be a large inconvenience... It's the kind of place that you can afford to have an event and what we do is bring in our own food and not too many of the places in town will allow that," he said.

City staff tell us they will be offering refunds for situations where another venue cannot be booked.

The Parks & Recreation Department hopes to have a better idea of how much the repairs will cost at the upcoming College Station City Council meeting scheduled for the 12th.

It's unknown what direction the city council will take on handling the repairs or how much money they'd be willing to spend.

Several senior city staff and a structural engineer toured the facility Friday morning to survey the damage before making the decision to close the conference center.

*Previous Story*
The College Station Conference Center closed on Friday and it's unknown when it might reopen.

City staff tell us the aging conference center on 1300 George Bush Drive has structural damage that makes the building too dangerous for people to be inside.

A press release from the city states a combination of heavy air-conditioning equipment and significant water collection is putting too much stress on the roof and other wood-framed areas.

The Parks & Recreation Department staff which have offices in the conference center will be moved to the main office at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park.

Events currently booked at the conference center will be rescheduled to other venues and if one isn't available, the city says refunds will be given.

The College Station City Council is expected to be briefed at their next meeting on July 12th.

News 3 will have more information on our evening newscasts.


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