OCEAN CITY, Md. - Construction plans are being finalized for phase III of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center just in time for its 50th anniversary. This new space would make more room for vendors at all of the events the convention center hosts throughout the year. 

The convention center will begin to gain an additional 30,000 square feet of its existing 45,000 square feet of exhibit space this spring. Phase III will be constructed at the north end of the building.

Phase I was completed on October 12th, 2012. Phase II was completed on December 10th, 2014. 

Executive Director Larry Noccolino says right now the venue can hold 270 vendors, but soon it will welcome about 450 through its doors. That means more room for more than 100 events held here every year. And Noccolino confirms that construction won’t impact any of them.

“In halls A and B on the north part of the building we’re going to build a demising wall," says "Once that’s built they’ll start construction on the outside of the building, which means you’re not going to be able to hear a lot of what’s going on in the outside.”

Noccolino says the expansion may take over some parking spaces, but that this project will actually provide an additional 57 spaces once it's complete. 

Brad Hoffman with Ocean City Jeep Week and George Makres with the OC Sportsman Expo spoke to WRDE on the phone.  Both hosts welcome the construction for the long term benefits it will bring to their events and others, saying that they could potentially use the additional space to hold bigger events in the future.

Funding for the $37.5 million project was approved back in April. The state will pay 60% and the town will pay the other 40%. Communications Manager Jessica Waters says this is a long term investment for the economy of ocean city.

“The expansion is going to be a huge benefit not only to the Town of Ocean City, but certainly to the businesses in the community," she says. "The hotels will benefit from it, the restaurants will benefit from it. The state will see an economic impact that’s estimated up to $67 million. We’re going to see an increase in jobs."

Noccolino expects to break ground on the expansion the first week of April. If all goes as planned, phase III should be complete by January 1st, 2022.