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Good Evening friend!
Come for business, stay for fun
June 12, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - The Gering Civic Center, located on the Old Oregon Trail in Gering, hosts a number of events of all sizes and is equipped to handle the current technological needs of business meetings.

Whether you’re in the area for a class or family reunion, a business trip or enjoying a vacation with the family, the North Platte Valley has the resources to accommodate your meeting needs.

The Gering Civic Center

The Gering Civic Center, now in its 21st year, also keeps busy catering to both leisure business travelers, as well as handling local functions. Karla Niedan-Streeks, who is also director of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Civic Center has earned a reputation as a premiere conference and meeting facility.

“We have about 60,000 people come though our doors each year,” she said. Those clients represent meetings, corporate business, reunions, family events, fundraising events and about any size event both local and regional. We can meet the needs of five people up to 1,000.”

Niedan-Streeks said the Civic Center hosts numerous conferences for state associations and business conferences every week of the year.

“In today’s conference business, the availability of technology is important for when meeting planners are deciding their sites,” she said. “We have high speed Internet that can accommodate up to 200 computers at a time. We’ve also upgraded to a LCD projection system.”

Their newest addition is the Polycom Video System, a state-of-the-art teleconferencing system that’s often used in distance learning in high definition.

“The Polycom system allows a group to bring in a nationally-known speaker without having to actually bring the person here,” Niedan-Streeks said. “That was a key component for us to add here at the Civic Center.”

The Civic Center has 25,500 square feet of meeting space and can comfortably accommodate 800 people for a banquet and up to 1,000 people for meetings. The center also does its own catering.

“Our average convention brings in about 300 delegates who stay here and average of 2.5 days. That’s a strong draws for local tourism,” Niedan-Streeks said. “We offer opportunities not only for business, but also for golf, shopping and other entertainment.”

She added that in the last couple of years, more conference attendees are bringing their families and staying an extra day or two to enjoy the area and its amenities.

The Hampton Inn

Bekah Gorsuch, manager at Hampton Inn and Suites in Scottsbluff, said they get a lot of reunion business for both families and high school classes during the summer months. Weddings and receptions are also popular during the summer.

“This is a huge draw for a family reunion,” Gorsuch said. “The family can sleep here and the kids can play in the pool while the family is hanging out doing their thing.”

Hampton Inn can seat up to 400. The space is one large room that can be broken down into three smaller rooms. In-house catering is part of the services offered.

Gorsuch said their high speed Internet, LCD video and surround sound can handle most needs for teleconferences. They’ve hosted conferences for several government agencies, such as Nebraska Rural Electric and Department of Roads – the kind of business meetings that usually take place during the winter months.

“There’s a real convenience for families or groups being in one area and not having to leave,” said Gorsuch. “I have a great staff that really knows how to take care of people. From the repeat business, I think we’re doing it right.”

She added that travelers are amazed when they first visit the area. “They think of us as the old west, but when they get here they are amazed with what we can do for them. Plus, it’s a slower pace of life where people are happy.”

Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Hampton Inn and Suites manager Bekah Gorsuch sits at a table set for a luncheon event. The Hampton provides an all in one stay, with amenities such fitness rooms, a pool and banquet meeting rooms.
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