CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday celebrated the completion of the initial phase of the $92.3 million renovation project at the Charleston Civic Center. It’s just in time for the beginning of the annual state High School Girl’s Basketball Tournament.

The new glass-enclosed lobby just across Clendenin Street from the Town Center Mall will be open for fans who will begin attending tournament games Wednesday. The area is serving as the new ticket purchasing location for civic center events.

Charleston City Manager David Molgaard says it’s great to have at least one part of the new Civic Center open for business.

“This is an ongoing project, in fact, it’s probably not going to be finished until sometime in September or October of 2018. But this (Tuesday’s ribbon cutting) is a milestone and we’re happy, very happy to be able to celebrate this,” Molgaard said.

There are also changes coming to Clendenin Street between the Civic Center and the mall. The four-lane street will officially become two lanes with the outside lanes being converted into pull off areas for the civic center and the mall along with 15-minute metered parking. The project will also include help for pedestrians, Molgaard said.

“We are actually going to have a raised crosswalk coming out of the mall to get you across the street. The amount of real estate pedestrians have to travel will be reduced greatly,” Molgaard said. “That will create a better experience. It will slow down traffic. We do expect an awful lot of people coming in and out of that new lobby.”

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