Renovations at Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem near completion

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Construction crews are looking forward to finishing up the renovations at the Benton Convention Center.

Drivers, who are working around all of the construction, are looking forward to the completion date as well.

The center is undergoing major renovations that have been in the works for years. Last October, phase one of renovations that took place on the first floor were completed.

Because of the upgrades happening on the second level of the center, Fifth Street, one of the city's main roads in downtown, has been shut down between Cherry and Marshall streets since October 2016. That portion of the street meets the second level of the convention center, where construction crews are busy at work.

The road was scheduled to reopen in January 2017, barring construction delays. Due to construction setbacks, the road is now estimated to reopen in April and the renovations to be completed in May.

Grant Minnix, director of operations at the Benton Convention Center, appreciates the public's patience.

"We are in the middle of a $20 million renovation here at the Benton Convention Center. And we are about nine weeks away from completing that. Any time you're renovating a building, it takes a little bit longer when you open up walls that were built in the 60s and in the 80s, and you have to allow for a little bit more time," Minnix said. "For safety, with all the cranes and steel that's going up in the front, we had to close Fifth Street."

Minnix says the convention center has roughly a $59 million economic impact in Winston-Salem. With the renovations, they're expecting even more people to visit the city with events held at the center. Right now, construction crews are working on a modern glass front to the facility, where drivers will be able to see inside the center.

"When you look at the impact that the convention center is going to bring to the community when it opens back up, it will be the best 100,000-square-foot convention center in the state. We're excited and I think the citizens of Winston-Salem should be excited too," Minnix said.