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South-central Utah's first convention center will soon appear on the horizon in Richfield following groundbreak-ing ceremonies.

The $5.3 million facility will also include additional classrooms for the state's Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center.Completion is expected by next March, according to the contractor, Lawrence Construction Co. The contract was awarded in January by the state's Division of Facilities Construction & Management.

The 32,000-square-foot facility, which will seat up to 1,000 people, is only one phase of an expansion program at the center involving some projects that have been completed and others that lie in the future.

A performing arts center, technology services building and student housing facilities are also on the expansion and building docket.

An information technical services center at SVAATC will provide backup for Utah's computer system. Groundbreaking is expected within six months, according to Richard Maxfield, center superintendent.

A performing arts center that will seat up to 1,500 is in the future as well as much-needed student housing facilities.

Richfield is a preferred site for events because of its geographical location, and the new center will enhance the area's ability to host conventions, said Carl Albrecht, president of the center's governing board.

The institution's food service and drafting departments will be housed in the new building now under construction as well as a multi-media area and administrative offices.

A combined Richfield city and school library will open in June of 1996 as part of a cooperative development program outlined in the SVATC master plan. The present city library is small and will be closed when the new library is opened.

The cooperative effort has previously seen new street development near the center, a parking lot and construction of four new ball fields.

Richfield officials have provided water for campus improvements and acted in behalf of the city as a political entity in seeking funding through the Utah Community Impact Board but is not held responsible for financial obligations.

The struggle for financing has been long and difficult for many who have been involved in putting together a financial package. It has stretched over several years, requiring constant efforts by center and city personnel to get enough money for the convention center and classroom expansion.