CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The hiring of a consulting firm to help plan out improvements to the Charleston Civic Center is another sign the project is moving forward. City Council approved O’Dell Associates for assistance with the project.
“They’ll be doing a master plan for the facility. They’re going to be looking at our existing spaces and what we need to do,” said Civic Center General Manager John Robertson. “They’re going to do a market study to confirm the kinds of spaces we will be adding and what we will need.”
The upgrades to the Civic Center are long overdue. The last major renovation came in the early 1990s when the ice rink was removed and the exhibition hall expanded. That’s the only work done of any significance since 1982 when the old Civic Center was turned into an exhibition area.
“We expect to do updates and improvements in those areas, but essentially they would remain the same in terms of seating capacity in the coliseum and floor space in the exhibit hall would remain the same,” Robertson said.
The most pressing need city officials say is an improved meeting space. A new ballroom and additional meeting rooms will be the focal point of new expansion of the facility.
Charleston City Council has put the Civic Center renovation at the head of the priority list. It comes with a $50 million budget. The money is generated by a sales tax increase of .5 percent and the city’s TIFF District.