Words & Deeds

Nampa Civic Center’s new focus: community (not gunning for Morrison Center)

The Nampa Civic Center has been taken over by new management: Spectra, which operates facilities nationwide — including the Ford Idaho Center.
The Nampa Civic Center has been taken over by new management: Spectra, which operates facilities nationwide — including the Ford Idaho Center. Nampa Civic Center

The Nampa Civic Center has a new mission: Appeal to everyday folks in Canyon County.

The city of Nampa recently awarded the building’s management contract to fresh blood: Spectra, the company that manages the Ford Idaho Center and hundreds of other public assembly facilities.

The change arrives after a series of different directors in recent years.

The first priority at the Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. South, will be to return to basics, said Spectra’s Tim Savona, who is the general manager of the Idaho Center.

That means more expos, trade shows, meetings, banquets and weddings in the 28,000-square-foot space. More local theater, dance and cheer-style events.

“Let’s play the cards to the community,” Savona said. “Let’s appeal to the wants and needs of our community in Nampa.”

The shift also might warrant fewer touring productions. In the past, when the Nampa Civic Center booked those types of acts — ranging from ex-“American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks to dance group the Moscow Ballet — it involved financial risk.

“I think it’s important to have a performing arts base, but we don’t need to be in a position where we’re taking risk on a regular basis,” Savona said. “I strongly believe we can make a difference over there, but I do not foresee us trying to compete with the likes of the Morrison Center.”

“The formula for success over there is not ticketed events,” he said. “Yes, they help and add to the overall appeal, but our focus is going to be on repairing relationships within the community .... and being a volume-based venue.”

Nampa Mayor Bob Henry expressed confidence in Spectra. He pointed to the company’s success at the Idaho Center. The number of events at the Idaho Center rose 18 percent over the prior year during Spectra’s first 12 months.

“Spectra has exceeded our expectations for their first year at the Ford Idaho Center,” Henry said, “and I expect them to do good things with our civic center.”

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