El Pasoans have a new state-of-the art meeting center.
Education Service Center Region 19 on Thursday opened the doors of its new Starlight Event Center at 6650 Continental Drive.
Officials with the center said it is the second largest venue after the El Paso convention center, averaging close to 50,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
The total cost has not been finalized, but officials said they have spent more than $30 million on the state-of-the-art building with modern furniture and top-notch technology, including one of the largest LED video walls in El Paso.
“This new conference center will be transformative for the size and complexity of events we can host. It significantly expands our ability to serve our growing community and attract national conventions,” said Armando Aguirre, Region 19 executive director.
The building has been a goal for five years, and groundbreaking took place Feb. 28, 2021, next to the Region 19 offices.
Sandra Valladolid, marketing and multimedia services coordinator at Region 19, said the venue is in a great location, near the El Paso International Airport, and she expects it to be able to attract national education conferences that can be attended by local teachers.
The venue consists of a main conference hall on the sixth floor and a five-story parking garage. The main conference room is surrounded by lounging areas with views of the Franklin Mountains and the rest of the city through panoramic windows on all sides.
The floor also has a Skyview Terrace that opens to a balcony overlooking the airport. The Skyview Terrace is a bar area ideal for cocktail hour and gathering between conference meetings.
The building also will have a Hueco Tanks cafe on the first floor that should be ready in a couple of months. The cafe, with a commercial kitchen, will have Mexican food but also some American staples such as burgers. It will be open to the public.
Valladolid said the venue will be used for educational purposes the majority of the time. But it also will be rented to the public for wedding receptions, entertainment events and expos. People can schedule a tour of the venue by going to its website at esc19.net/starlighteventcenter.
She added that the center will work with a variety of vendors for events, including nearby restaurants such as Cattle Baron, as well as bringing in food trucks.
The center's first event will be Region 19's 18th Annual Together for Autism Conference Jan. 27-28, which already is sold out.
María Cortés González may be reached at 915-546-6150; email@example.com; @EPTMaria on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Starlight Event Center opens for educational services, private events