The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a convention center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Enclosing some 3.9 million ft2 (360,000 m2) in exhibition space and hosting more than a million visitors each year, the GWCC is the fourth-largest convention center in the United States. Opened in 1976, the GWCC was the first state-owned convention center established in the United States. The center is operated on behalf of the state by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which was chartered in 1971 by Georgia General Assembly to develop an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta. The authority later developed Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Dome.
The GWCC is made up of three adjacent buildings, Buildings A, B, and C. In total these buildings have twelve exhibit halls, 105 meeting rooms, and two ballrooms. Building A has three exhibit halls and the Sidney Marcus auditorium seating 1,740. Building B, the largest, contains five exhibit halls and the 33,000 square-foot (3,065 m 2) Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom. The newest building, Building C, has four exhibit halls and the 25,700 square-foot (2,387 m 2) Georgia Ballroom. Other amenities include a FedEx Kinko's office, Starbucks coffee shops, a gift shop, internet access, telephone service, and full IT management provided by CCLD (Convention Center Long Distance), a concierge desk, and a food court plus another restaurant. Freight rail tracks run through the middle of the complex and under the parking decks. The complex incorporates pedestrian bridges to connect exhibit halls on opposite sides of the tracks.
On 14 March 2008, a tornado struck Atlanta, including the downtown area. The Georgia World Congress Center was heavily damaged by the storm, including roof and water damage. In addition to rain pouring in from the holes in the roof, there was also water damage from the sprinkler system and broken water pipes. The extent of the damage led to the cancellation of immediate events. After the disaster, a letter was posted on the GWCC's website detailing the closure of the GWCC. However, the facility along with the nearby Georgia Dome was able to be repaired enough to host the FIRST Robotics World Championship during the dates of April 18–20. The Georgia Dome and the Congress Center were also ready in time for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) run by DECA, an association of marketing students from around the country. FBLA-PBL, a student business organization, held its opening and closing sessions for the National Leadership Conference in 2008 there. The tornado was the first to hit the downtown area since weather record keeping began in the 1880s.