Rejuvenating the Showcase | PCL

Rejuvenating the Showcase

Located in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district, the Orange County Convention Center is a world-class convention facility that hosts some of the largest conventions in the United States, including the Premiere Beauty Show, PGA Merchandise Show, Surf Expo, and GeekyCon. With many of these exhibitions hosting tens of thousands of guests, the center has an economic impact of over $2 billion each year, benefiting more than 1,000 local businesses and 25,000 employees in Central Florida.

Terrazzo flooring is a design feature of the Orange
County Convention Center’s main concourse.
Watch the video for an in-depth tour of the Orange
County Convention Center.

The Tangerine Ballroom features fun, decorative
LED lighting.

The result of the reinforced precast beams.

The Orange County Convention Center aims to provide users with a positive experience and counts on repeat business from a multitude of clients. PCL’s renovation of approximately 460,000 square feet of the center’s West Building delivers expertly finished, modern spaces that enable the facility’s operations team to deliver complete guest satisfaction time and again.


When guests arrive for a convention hosted within the spacious halls of the Orange County Convention Center, they are funneled through one of the center’s main concourses. PCL’s renovation of the West Building included the installation of tile and terrazzo flooring in the main concourse. During demolition, the team removed the existing carpet to find that the layer of topping that creates a smooth, level surface for the installation of flooring was not bonded to the concrete slab below. Installing tile over this topping would cause the new tile floor to be at risk of failing or becoming damaged. In addition, the varying thickness of the tile and terrazzo would set the terrazzo lower than the adjacent tile.
The team proposed that the existing topping be removed and new topping installed. By manipulating the thickness of this new topping to compensate for the height difference between the terrazzo and tile, they could make the floor level throughout the concourse. The owner agreed to PCL’s plan, but also requested that the space be turned over months before originally scheduled, in preparation for an upcoming tradeshow. The implementation of an accelerated work plan and balanced installation of the new topping allowed for the tile to run flush with the terrazzo, and the owner received the concourse in time for the exhibition.


In addition to the Orange County Convention Center’s vast halls and ballrooms, the facility offers modestly sized and opulently finished signature meeting rooms. The project team set about renovating these existing meeting rooms while providing access to a new terraced balcony overlooking Orlando’s bustling tourism district. The project drawings showed four 27-foot by 22.5-foot holes that were to be cut in the side of the building, allowing access to the new balcony and keeping intact the existing precast concrete beams supporting the ceiling and roof. After starting the demolition of the interior wall, the team discovered the beams would not have adequate support to stay in place after they removed the four sections of wall.

A structural engineer proposed reinforcing the concrete beams by building a large support system, to be flown in over the balcony. This option would have been costly, so the project team pitched an idea of their own. They suggested adding several posts positioned to bookend doors along the exterior wall. This would allow the installation of steel headers connecting to the existing precast. The structural engineer determined the plan would provide adequate support. The solution avoided a potential major problem at a minimal cost and managed to keep the design intact without adding time to the schedule.
With the West Building successfully turned over, the convention center’s vast halls are filling with guests, bringing substantial economic growth to Central Florida while showcasing top businesses, products, and organizations from around the world.


“It’s been a pleasure to work with PCL and their team on the renovations at the center. Not only are the new restorations complete and amazingly beautiful, the project was finished on time with great attention to detail.” – Kathie Canning, executive director, OCCC.

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