Nugget $1 million renovation on track |

Nugget $1 million renovation on track

John Seelmeyer

John Ascuaga’s Nugget is nearing completion of a $1 million-plus renovation of its convention and meeting facilities.

The work is critical because meetings and conventions are key part of the strategy for the Sparks-based hotel and casino, said Vern Sohrt, the property’s executive director of sales.

The Nugget targets meetings of associations and business organizations from around the nation as a way to keep the hotel’s 1,600 rooms filled during the workweek when leisure travel dips.

Folks attending those meetings may not spend as much on gaming as weekend visitors, Sohrt said, but they typically pay a higher room rate.

The renovation, which included new carpet and replacement of mechanical parts in fold-away walls as well as aesthetic improvements, helps the Nugget compete for that business.

“To have a competitive product, you have to have a fresh product,” Sohrt said.

The Nugget’s convention and meeting facilities total 110,000 square feet.

The complex includes two ballrooms, a trade show pavilion and 23 break-out rooms for smaller sessions.

Conventions can be tough on facilities.

It’s not unusual, Sohrt said, for forklifts to run across the convention center carpet while trade shows are set up.

The renovation began in November, which typically marks the start of a slowdown in convention business, and is scheduled for completion in early February.

But while the holidays are slow for convention business, Sohrt noted that construction crews needed to work around a heavy schedule of holiday parties as well as 20 business meetings scheduled in the facilities.