Stormont Vail Health will pay Shawnee County more than $2.57 million over 10 years to acquire sponsorship naming rights for the former Kansas Expocentre under a contract county commissioners approved Thursday.

Commissioners Bob Archer, Bill Riphahn and Kevin Cook voted 3-0 to adopt the agreement, which arranges for the facility for the next 10 years to be known as the "Stormont Vail Events Center."

"This is really a big day for our community, and we have a lot to celebrate," Archer said.

The agreement arranges for Stormont Vail to pay the county $325,000 in its first year and $250,000 in each of the next nine, said county counselor Jim Crowl.

The partnership begins at a time when the county recently initiated a $48 million renovation project anticipated to bring the sparkle back to the aging multi-facility events center, with work projected to be completed by May 2021.

Expocentre general manager Kellen Seitz told commissioners some signage reflecting the name change had gone up at the events center as they were speaking Thursday morning.

Seitz is employed by Spectra, the Pennsylvania-based company that has managed the events center under contract for the county since 2017. Shawnee County owns the events center, which opened in 1987 in central Topeka as the Kansas Expocentre after being built at a cost of $19.7 million.

Archer recalled Thursday that its general manager under its previous management firm had told him that "nobody" would ever pay for naming rights to the former Expocentre.

"Guess what?" Archer said. "He was wrong."

Speaking at Thursday's meeting, Stormont Vail president and CEO Robert Kenagy thanked commissioners for their service, leadership and vision.

In a news release Thursday, Spectra said Stormont Vail was investing in the community's health and wellness, both physically and economically.

“Our mission to improve the health of our community goes far beyond physical health,” Kenagy said in the release. “Investing in our city and fostering local partnerships around improving the community’s overall health is vital."

The news release said the contract approved Thursday calls for the presence of major exterior and interior signage, a mothers room and brand recognition in all advertising for the events center.

"The arena’s website domain changed today to reflect the arena’s new name," the release said. "Temporary signage will be installed to reflect the name change of the facility immediately and will be updated with permanent signage cooperatively with the renovation project."

Seitz said Spectra officials couldn’t think of a better partner with which to advance and engage in community efforts than Stormont Vail. He described it as "a true Topeka born and bred company."

Thursday's news release said Stormont Vail Health is a nonprofit integrated health system that has been serving the health care needs of Kansas for more than 130 years. It is composed of Stormont Vail Hospital, a 586-bed acute care hospital, and Cotton O’Neil Clinic, a multi-specialty physician group with more than 500 providers, which includes more than 250 physicians.

More than 5,200 team members provide care and support services for patients in the hospital and 35 other locations, including the Cotton O’Neil Heart Center, Cancer Center, Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, Digestive Health Center, Pediatrics clinics and 10 regional primary care clinics, the release said.