EARLY — Progress on the City of Early Visitor and Event Center seems on track with contractors now focusing on roof construction of the facility.

Once roof work completes, contractors will next focus on the interior of the facility.

“We’re in the process of installing a roof deck on that project,” Early City Administrator Tony Aaron said. “It’s really starting to take shape a little bit more and you can see how the building will be laid out … We’re still on track for an October completion date.”

The visitor and event center will be the new headquarters of the Early Travel and Tourism, which currently shares a building with the Early Chamber of Commerce and other public and private entities inside the Early Small Business Incubator at 104 E. Industrial. In November, the Early City Council approved a $1,194,162 bid to Waldrop Construction, and soon began construction on the property at 419 Garmon Drive, a property previously owned by the Lions Club.

“It’s getting exciting to see. We’ve always been housed there. The city just took over the tourism part in October of 2016,” Early Travel and Tourism Director Denise Hudson said. 

While touring the facility earlier this summer, Early Assistant City Administrator Larry McConn said the facility would be multi-use and offer a more intimate setting than one found at larger, more spacious facilities such as the Brownwood Coliseum. 

“It’s going to be about 5,000 square feet under the roof, and the court yard is somewhere around 20,000 square foot, which is all useable space,” McConn said. “We will have sound systems throughout and we’re looking at using it for anything from movie nights to annual meetings, corporate meetings and things like that. We’re trying to get the school involved for Project Graduations and there has been a farmer’s market interested in [operating] every weekend in the summer … It’s very multi-use. It’s going to be a great facility as we move forward. It’s not going to be anything like the coliseum. It’s an intimate setting for business meetings and fundraising type events.”

When originally announced the facility was set to open in August of 2018, but was delayed until October. Regardless of when it opens, Hudson said the facility will be a major step forward for Early tourism.

“While it’s exciting to see the visitor center take shape, it’s even more exciting thinking about when it opens in the fall — the option to showcase what Early, as well as Brown County, have to offer,” Hudson said.