GASTONIA, N.C. -- Nearly one year after the grand opening, people who were going to celebrate inside the Gastonia Conference Center are now looking for somewhere else.
It all started with complaints of a bouncy floor in the second-level ballroom, which now will sit empty while the city figures out what to do. Less than a year after the $10 million Gastonia Conference Center began hosting events, locals wonder how there can already be safety hazards.
"Whose fault is it, and who's going to have to pay for it," asked taxpayer John Michael.
The city says that after seeing a report from Ferguson Structural Engineering, its hands were tied and they had to recommend suspending all events at the building.
The engineering firm claims "several elements of the structure were found to be insufficient to satisfy minimum code standards." Also they say the steel framing throughout the building isn't structurally sound.
But the original engineer, WGPM Inc., says that's not the case.
"The building can be safely used for its intended purpose. It is our opinion that closure of the building is unnecessary," the company said.
But the city has recommended canceling all upcoming events. Merryman Cleveland just hosted the annual Chamber of Commerce event two weeks ago and says she's glad they weren't canceled.
"We used many of the rooms--the lobby, the extra rooms and the main ballroom, and it was really a great experience," said Cleveland.
Though locals say this seems like a loss of money for the city, they can't argue with the city putting safety first.
"You can't put people in there if you think there's a safety issue," added Michael.
It's still unclear just how many events will have to be canceled during this suspension and how much money that will cost the city. Two events this week are canceled so far while the engineers come together to agree on what needs to be done.