Macon City Auditorium goes dark for months as renovation begins

Walter S. Timmons

Sheridan Design and the Smallwood style and design agency will operate in two phases and complete the task in 2023

MACON, Ga. — For the first time considering the fact that the late 70s, the City Auditorium is getting renovated.

Despite the fact that the county originally planned to devote $10 million of 2018 SPLOST proceeds, the last estimate is not however recognised thanks to the rise in the cost of developing components and style modifications to rein in fees. The to start with style was much more than 2.5 periods the planned spending plan.

Sheridan Construction is overseeing the job in partnership with the Smallwood design company out of Atlanta.

The auditorium’s calendar is clear right until early September to permit construction in June, July and August.

“We have a crushed timetable. We’re heading to be operating 24/7,” reported Tom Rogers, Sheridan’s senior task manager.

They halted auditorium bookings so work can be done on the principal floor and basement concessions foyer in the first of two phases of building with the 2nd 50 % ending up coming calendar year, ideally in time to rejoice Macon’s bicentennial.

This 7 days, crews included the auditorium ground and started erecting a subject of scaffolding that will maintain a lifted system at the prime of the proscenium so employees can remodel the ceiling above the balcony.

“We are eliminating the ceiling that is there and just likely back again to what it was originally… black metal,” said Clay Murphey, the SPLOST coordinator for Macon-Bibb County.

In 1977, the Sheridan workforce embarked on a 20-month, $2.2 million dollar challenge to help stability the acoustical troubles designed by the “largest copper dome in the world.”

Ribs of sheetrock and panels of acoustical carpet were added alongside with spaceship-like tiles in close proximity to the stage.

Nevertheless, that deal with from about 45 yrs back produced another challenge – excessive moisture.

“The making is not equipped to breathe the way it is,” Murphey said. “You can see all the mildew.”

Most patrons of the auditorium visit in the course of dimly lit occasions, but the injury is very obvious when all the lights are on.

In the final few of several years, a lot more than a million bucks was put in to watertight and renovate the basement and mend the roof, which had 51 bullet holes in the famed copper dome.

In the $6.9 million Phase 1 of the task, a structural steel network will be erected from the ceiling for a new catwalk and lights procedure.

Crews are hermetically sealing the historic mural in excess of the stage to safeguard it from dust and hurt.

There will be new paint, flooring, carpet, and wallpaper with new drapes and seat handles anticipated next yr.

“We’re really considerably touching anything the public sees,” Murphey said of the recent renovation. “The typical location the people today will see will be drastically different.”

Downstairs, crews will demolish the current concessions stand and restrooms and generate new types through this to start with stage.

Smallwood originally built a glass atrium and key restructuring of the lobby, but the resources ended up way way too expensive for the price range, and not everyone embraced the far more modern day notion on the century-old constructing.

In Section 2 up coming year, crews are envisioned to establish octagon-shaped additions on every single close of the Initially Street facet to house first ground loos and a new ticket location.

The additional calendar year offers contractors time to discover a match for the limestone applied to construct the auditorium to use on the new additions.

“I feel we’re going to stop up going with something that seems like limestone,” Murphey said. “I’d be amazed if we can quarry limestone at a price tag that is sensible.”

Rogers reported he’s looking ahead to reworking the auditorium.

“It’s an appealing venture mainly because the auditorium is these types of a historic making and it signifies so a lot to so lots of people who have manufactured reminiscences there,” Rogers mentioned.


A further ‘crown jewel’

Previous fall, the global venue development company Oak Perspective Group, or OVG, acquired Spectra Location Administration, the supervisor of the auditorium, coliseum, convention center and Macon-Bibb’s new amphitheater prepared at Macon Mall.

Peyton Jeter, the advertising and marketing director for OVG’s area business, claimed the perform on the auditorium coincides with upgrading the Macon Coliseum.

A new video clip scoreboard was mounted in the last yr and the facility will have an upgraded hearth alarm security method, which is estimated to expense almost $500,000.

Crews also are installing a new $1.3 million ice floor technique.

“That serves the Mayhem definitely properly, Disney on Ice and public skating,” Jeter reported while touring the auditorium Tuesday.

The auditorium renovation also will touch the oval-shaped inexperienced room that has hosted performers through the a long time. Modern phase enhancements for loading in machines should make it less difficult to reserve functions for the auditorium.

For the duration of this three-thirty day period downtime, Jeter reported she will have sufficient time to start out marketing and advertising the county’s new amphitheater after bookings occur in for performances expected to start off upcoming summertime.

OVG was the apparent option to take care of that new location, mentioned Urban Progress Authority government director Alex Morrison at very last month’s conference.

“When it arrived to needing assistance as we’re making, organizing for and in the end working a new amusement venue, the amphitheater, it was sensible and a excellent option to work with them once again for that facility,” Morrison advised the authority in advance of members accepted the management agreement.

OVG’s Regional Vice President Trent Merritt mentioned the organization understands the Macon current market and the difficulties of operating right after the international pandemic shut down business enterprise.

The Centreplex operation now has various venues to book functions and build associations with entertainers.

“You can bring artists in, performers who are up and coming, in more compact facilities and develop them into greater services,” Merritt claimed. “Now with the amphitheater, it just puts a further crown jewel in the arsenal listed here.”

For Jeter, practically nothing beats the attraction of the old auditorium.

“I just consider she’s so really,” she mentioned.

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County governing administration and can be arrived at at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.

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