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Century II resource center

Here is a resource of information about the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center in Wichita. Send suggestions for additions to bob.weeks@gmail.com.

Websites and online

Documents

News and opinion

  • January 25, 2020 Editorial in Wichita Story: Thinking Outside the Dome. Have you ever flown out of or into Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport? You may do as I do and seek the icon that says you’re home; the identifying feature from the eye in the sky: Century II. For many, Century II has always been there. Others may remember when it was built to commemorate Wichita’s hundredth year. School field trips, car shows, graduations, plays and performances are just a few examples of the many memories we share as a city in the “mothership” that has become more motherly than alien.
    Link to article: https://wichitastory.com/guest-editorial-thinking-outside-the-dome/

  • January 22, 2020 Commentary on Facebook by Russell Arben Fox: This is a mostly fact-filled contribution to the argument, and all of the points Martin makes specifically about Century II’s size and shape need to be kept in mind. Still, I am waiting for someone, ANYONE, to put meat on the bones of the claim I see here and hear constantly from boosters: that “we compete for many regional conventions [and] every year we lose more events to Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Johnson County, Omaha and even Topeka.” Please, somebody, NAME THOSE CONVENTIONS. Give me data!
    Link to post: https://www.facebook.com/russell.a.fox.9/posts/10162785356485291

  • January 22, 2020 Commentary in Wichita Eagle: Ed Martin: Save Century II… for what? Any campaign to save Century II and the former downtown library must answer the question, “Save them for what?”
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20200126203641/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/guest-commentary/article239505863.html

  • January 19, 2020 Commentary in Wichita Eagle: Wichita can’t grow without Century II or a clear plan on how to replace it. As of Jan. 11, Century II has served this community for 50 years. Century II on paper may look like it loses money, but all you have to do is look at the economic impact to the Wichita community from events such as the American Bowling Congress, the Miss USA pageants and other national events. Some in city leadership would like to demolish the venue due to its age. The maintenance and appearance are the responsibility of the city and those in charge of overseeing the operation of Century II. The city has chosen to defer maintenance, causing problems for those who attend the events at Century II.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article224768445.html

  • January 19, 2020 Wichita Eagle: Is the Century II Convention and Performing Arts Center building historic, or is it just old?
    That question is now at the center of a battle raging over the future of Century II.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article237882089.html

  • January 18, 2020 Opinion in Wichita Eagle: The new plan for Wichita’s riverfront is bold but divisive. So settle it with a vote. The best way to rebuild that trust is to be upfront and transparent, and to trust voters to decide Wichita’s future. If the city needs a new performing arts center — and signs point to yes — make a plan, make the case, and put it on the ballot, like the measure that replaced the outdated Kansas Coliseum with a new downtown arena. If we’re going to vote on Century II’s fate, there needs to be a proposal for what will happen with it, so voters can make a thoughtful choice, not purely emotional one.
    Link to archived version of article: https://web.archive.org/web/20200119184331/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article239318388.html

  • January 17, 2020 The Sentinel: Tax increases on the table in Wichita riverfront design unveiling. After months of ‘no comment’ from city officials and downtown boosters, a sales tax increase in officially on the table to pay for the Wichita riverfront development along the east bank of the Arkansas River in Wichita. The Sentinel has been reporting on city officials and development refusal to rule out a sales tax increase since last year.
    Link to article: https://sentinelksmo.org/tax-increases-on-the-table-in-wichita-riverfront-design-unveiling/

  • January 16, 2020 KPTS Television: A live forum for discussion of Wichita’s riverfront development, centering on the city’s planned options for the Century II complex.
    Link to video: https://youtu.be/Pq5P01C7ZP0

  • January 14, 2020 The Sentinel: Tax increases on the table in Wichita riverfront design unveiling. A new survey shows voters oppose a tax increase to pay for the Wichita riverfront development project being pushed by downtown business and elected officials. Perhaps even more intriguing, voters also don’t think the riverfront development is a high priority for city council members and the mayor.
    Link to article: https://sentinelksmo.org/voters-oppose-tax-increase-for-wichita-riverfront-development/

  • January 13, 2020 Wichita Eagle: Century II activists launch petition drive; need 12,500-plus signatures to force vote. Supporters of an initiative petition to save Century II from destruction came to their kickoff event Monday with 200 yard signs — and left with none. More than that many people stopped by to pick up petitions aimed at forcing City Hall to preserve the 51-year-old structure, targeted for demolition in the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan, details of which will be released Tuesday. The petition proposed by the Save Century II group would prevent the city government from destroying any historically significant city-owned buildings without a public vote, specifically naming Century II and the former library as two buildings that would have to be protected.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article239250988.html

  • December 16, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Riverfront Legacy group moves forward with a plan that tears down Century II. Century II has been eliminated from Wichita’s skyline in a redesign of the east bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, replaced by mixed-use buildings and a large “programmable green space” that connects new performing arts and convention centers with the river. That’s the direction the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan coalition wants to go, the group of downtown and business booster organizations decided Monday. The decision was based on months of public engagement and years of studies, group members said.
    Link to archived version of article: https://web.archive.org/web/20200108015712/https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article238446463.html

  • November 24, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Wichita movie theater mogul says he wants to help save Century II — for free. Before anyone suggests tearing down Century II, one of Wichita’s most successful entrepreneurs said he’s willing to help find a new use for it — free of charge. Bill Warren, founder of Warren Theatres and longtime vocal protector of Century II, said his experience in real estate and promotion can help the city find a developer that sees the value in the iconic building and could turn it into a destination building that benefits the city.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article237665689.html

  • September 24, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Planning tour highlights downtown river access, strengths and weaknesses of Century II. More pollinating plants to help support butterflies and bees, rooftop greenery, better access for the disabled and parking that’s hidden out of site. Those were among ideas floated Tuesday as community members were invited to give their thoughts on what comes next on the east bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. The occasion was the first of four “urban explorations” scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday by the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan group, a public-private consortium re-envisioning the area now occupied by the Century II Convention and Performing Arts Center and the WaterWalk.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article235435787.html

  • September 18, 2019. Commentary in Wichita Eagle: Riverfront planning is public — and about more than Century II. Lately, I’ve been disappointed to hear people dismissing a process that I am co-leading as a member of the Riverfront Legacy Master Plan coalition. This private-public effort is intentionally designed to be open and transparent. So I thought it might be helpful to try and correct some misperceptions.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190922120916/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/guest-commentary/article235071182.html

  • September 2019 KMUW: Wichita Rules Out Renovating Century II For Performing Arts. City Manager Robert Layton says recent engineering work confirmed structural limitations that would make the renovation project too costly. As a result, he says the city ruled out that option for upgrading the performing arts facility. “So now it’s a matter of let’s go ahead and determine how we build a new performing arts facility, and how is that prioritized from a financial standpoint,” Layton says. “And then decide, is it possible to reuse the round building.”
    Link to article: https://www.kmuw.org/post/wichita-rules-out-renovating-century-ii-performing-arts

  • July 31, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Consultants call for bold vision on east bank of Arkansas River; C-II may not fit. Architects and planners hired to redesign the riverbank area that now holds the Century II convention center and the WaterWalk in downtown Wichita told a standing-room-only crowd of about 300 that now is the time to show bold vision and create a new waterfront for decades to come.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190801154516/https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article233347162.html

  • July 30, 2019 Opinion in Wichita Eagle: Attention, ‘Bitchitans’: Speak up now on Century II and Wichita’s riverbank. Some Wichita residents make bellyaching an art form, grousing non-stop about anything and everything. (See also: electric scooters, fireworks, road construction.) To watch it in action, scan Twitter or Facebook, eavesdrop at a bar, or read the comments on The Eagle’s website. So when city leaders say they want public opinion on an important topic, you’d think most folks would be eager to share. That’s not always the case.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190731173258/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/suzanne-perez/article233268049.html

  • March 31, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Here’s what a new performing arts center in Wichita needs, theater professional says. The city’s aging Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center is holding the city back. That’s what studies conducted over the last few years have concluded, and city leaders are currently considering whether to take on the expensive project of building a replacement.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190401175343/https://www.kansas.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/keeper-of-the-plans/article228614899.html

  • March 31, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Wichita is the only major city in the region not to get ‘Hamilton’ tour. Here’s why. Century II’s stage is technically too shallow — by about 11 feet and 2 inches — for “Hamilton,” said John D’Angelo, director of the city’s Division of Arts and Cultural Services. If Century II got “Hamilton,” it would have to be scaled to fit.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190401215520/https://www.kansas.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/keeper-of-the-plans/article227785309.html

  • March 24, 2019 Wichita Eagle: Wichita could gain millions in revenue if it builds a new convention center, officials say. Add one more major item to Wichita’s extensive list of downtown projects. Along with the new baseball stadium complex being built ($83 million) and talk of a new performing arts center (expected to be more than $175 million), officials with Visit Wichita want to ensure the convention-center isn’t forgotten. Century II is hampering the city’s efforts to attract new conventions — which need modern, industry-standard facilities — to town, says the convention and visitors bureau.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190325165713/https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article227455864.html

  • February 26, 2019 opinion in Wichita Eagle: Whatever happens with Century II, don’t sell off Wichita’s riverfront.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190227151410/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article226804079.html

  • February 15, 2019 opinion in Wichita Eagle: Will Century II survey tell city leaders what Wichitans really think? No. Later this month a volunteer committee will advise Wichita leaders on what they should do with Century II — whether the city should renovate its iconic round dome or build a new performing arts center. One factor in the group’s recommendation will be the results from an online survey that has circulated over the past few weeks. Officials say they have more than 3,700 responses so far and hope to gather more before the survey closes Thursday. But decision-makers should be careful not to presume too much from the seven-question survey: Though it purports to gauge public opinion on Century II, results will be neither scientifically valid nor representative of the city as a whole.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20190305155016/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article226286910.html

  • September 2018 The Chung Report: Is It Time To Let Go Of Century II?
    Built in the style of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Century II has been a Wichita landmark for nearly sixty years. Its sand-colored pillars represent the vast, Kansas wheat fields, and the now-iconic blue dome represents the expansive sky. While it’s an architectural icon, many believe Century II’s useful lifespan has come to an end, and it should be heavily renovated — or replaced completely — with a new performing arts and convention center. Others disagree, citing the building’s artistic design, its status as a Wichita landmark and the hefty cost of a new building.
    Link to article: https://thechungreport.com/debating-the-future-of-century-ii/

  • August 2017 Wichita Eagle: Century II solutions: how a city with similar problems fixed theirs. Wichita isn’t the only city that has struggled with problems stemming from a big, round, aging building. Arizona State University remodeled its round Frank Lloyd Wright-designed performing arts center earlier this year to public fanfare. But nearly a decade ago in Austin, Texas, a round building was torn down. Enough parts were salvaged to pay homage to the old downtown building, beloved by some in Austin and hated by others – a solution Wichita leaders have occasionally referenced in informal settings.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20170806151631/https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article165568367.html

  • September 15, 2017 Wichita Eagle: Kirk Seminoff: Century II is worth saving, but can we do better?
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20181009013425/https://www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article173594216.html

  • September 13, 2017 Wichita Eagle: What’s next for Century II? Here’s VIII things you need to know. Long-awaited plans are beginning to crystallize to update and improve the Century II Convention and Performing Arts Center south of Douglas on the east bank of the Arkansas River. The City Council received a consultant’s report and recommendations from City Manager Robert Layton on how to proceed Tuesday night. Layton and Mayor Jeff Longwell met with Wichita Eagle writers and editors Wednesday to talk about how they planned to proceed.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20170914180546/http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article173165156.html

  • September 13, 2017 Wichita Eagle editorial: How the city got Century II’s future started right.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20170930000000*/http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article173139821.html

  • September 12, 2017 Wichita Eagle: City manager: Keep Century II and modernize, expand it. Wichita’s city manager recommended Tuesday that the City Council keep the blue dome building of the Century II Convention and Performing Arts Center, but modernize it, expand it and change the way it is managed.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20181009013837/https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article172986226.html

  • September 12, 2017 Wichita Eagle: Replace or renovate? Report offers two options for future of Century II. A consultant’s report on Century II recommends either tearing down the iconic round blue-roofed performing arts center building, or turning it into a downtown marketplace that could include office and residential space. The report also recommends privatizing all the city’s convention and performing arts functions.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article172966656.html

  • July 20, 2017 Wichita Eagle: Take Century II and put in a parking garage? Just one idea. Bill Warren – movie theater builder and vocal protector of Century II – says high-ranking city officials have told him that one option is to turn the interior of the iconic building into a parking garage.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20170720200650/http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article162675743.html

  • May 12, 2017 Wichita Eagle: Dispute brewing over whether to save that big blue roof – Century II. Wichita movie theater mogul Bill Warren isn’t holding back about his concern that the city will tear down iconic Century II, with its recognizable round blue roof. The 68-year-old businessman and developer said he’s going to start by spending $100,000 in an advertising effort called Save Century II. The city manager and the mayor, meanwhile, say the city has not decided on the building’s fate and that architecture is just one of multiple factors to be considered.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20170726125148/http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article150289117.html

  • February 24, 2017 Wichita Eagle: Fate of Century II still undecided. The future of one of Wichita’s most beloved – yet slowly aging – buildings is still in flux. Both city leaders and members of Wichita’s arts and convention industries have discussed the need for new, or at least significantly overhauled, facilities for years now. City leaders said late last year that the fate of Century II will be a topic of discussion in 2017, though there hasn’t been much in the way of concrete discussion in the first two months of the year.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20171013220908/http://www.kansas.com/news/business/forward/article131843624.html

  • July 15, 2013 Wichita Eagle: Application to drill for oil under Century II on hold as Wichita City Council members are updated. City officials want to extract oil from 4,000 feet under Century II. But the project is on hold for at least a month, stymied by an internal mixup and questions about how drilling would affect downtown revitalization.
    Link to archived article: https://web.archive.org/web/20200127011044/https://www.kansas.com/news/article1119048.html

  • October 28, 2013 Wichita Eagle: Conventions consultant offers options for Century II. Go Wichita and city officials made a pitch Monday for the future of conventions in Wichita – a future that may or may not include the iconic 44-year-old Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center. A new convention center in Wichita could generate up to $30 million annually in convention business, an independent study said.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/article1126295.html

  • October 15, 2013 Editorial in Wichita Eagle: Don’t raze Century II. If Wichita expects to land more and bigger conventions, it will need to do better than the current Century II. But Mayor Carl Brewer is right that razing the iconic saucer-shaped 45-year-old civic center “can’t happen.”
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article1125362.html

  • October 13, 2013 Wichita Eagle: How can Century II become a convention contender? Add one more multimillion-dollar dilemma to City Hall’s ever-growing list of expensive to-do’s: What to do with Century II?
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/article1125290.html

  • June 7, 2011 Wichita Eagle: Anderson’s vision. Every time a crowd gathers at Century II, Wichita owes a round of applause to leaders such as former City Commissioner and Mayor William D. “Bill” Anderson, who died last week at age 83.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article1065972.html

  • January 24, 2010 Wichita Eagle: City of Wichita plans repairs for Century II, debates major overhaul. Wichita has a gleaming new arena downtown, but the 40-year-old Century II convention hall 10 blocks away is showing its age with cracks, leaks and broken seats. For a couple years, the city has sat on a roughly $450 million plan to expand the Expo Hall and build a new performing arts center. City Manager Robert Layton said that proposal probably will remain shelved until the economy improves and downtown Wichita shows an expanded convention hall would be worth it. Meanwhile, the building may get $22 million in upgrades and repairs over the next few years.
    Link to article: https://www.kansas.com/news/special-reports/article1021422.html

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