Kenner Pontchartrain Center seating improvements finished

A $1.5 million improvement to seating at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center has wrapped up, and Mayor Mike Yenni is touting the change as a step in the right direction for the facility.

The Kenner City Council provided final approval Thursday for the project that added motorized, movable seating to the facility at the end of Williams Boulevard. Specialty Supply Installation LLC handled the two-week installation late last month during the slowest time of the year for the center, according to a city news release. Yenni noted that the seating will help the center stay current as it tries to attract high-quality events.

“It’s important that all of the amenities at the Pontchartrain Center are of the highest quality and follow any technological advancements in the field,” Yenni said in a statement. “That’s exactly what has happened with the installation of this telescopic seating.”

The new seating allows officials to change the seating configuration at the center to match different events. General Manager Kathleen Turner said the seating also will make it easier to access meeting rooms at the center. In fact, the new seating allows the center to seat 3,158 people in stadium-style seating, and that seating can increase to about 4,000 with portable chairs added to the floor.

Turner noted that the new seating adds definite value to the center and will increase its attractiveness to clients.

“Of great value to the Center and its clientele is the new configuration affording events an exclusive area for sound and light technician placement, thereby retaining full seating capacity,” Turner said in a statement. “Trade, consumer and convention events will now have immediate access from Hall A to Meeting Rooms on the ground level.

Kenner officials have discussed ways to increase business at the Pontchartrain Center for years, and Yenni said late last year that he’s negotiating a new management contract for the center. He has declined to release details on that new deal. That contract will need to be approved by the council if it’s in excess of $100,000.

Kenner provides about $400,000 to $500,000 in annual subsidies to the Pontchartrain Center. However, the city recently signed a marketing deal with the Jefferson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to try to bring a wider range of events to the facility. Yenni has said the new management contract for the center should decrease the city’s subsidy.