ASHEVILLE, NC – A leaky Asheville Civic Center roof will soon be replaced by a better looking and better insulated roof, as the city’s capital improvement program will give the center energy-efficiency investments over the next five years.
The $1.5 million dollar-roof project began at the end of September and is scheduled to be completed in early January, with contractors taking breaks for heavy rains and to make way for upcoming entertainment acts, such as the Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam, an annual arena sell out.
“The economic impact the center has on the city of Asheville is significant. Ninety percent of tickets for the Christmas Jam will be purchased from outside of North Carolina,” said interim Civic Center Director Dan Dover. “This past year alone we had more than a quarter of a million attendees, and that figure is on the low side considering the constant exchange of people we have for events such as Bele Chere.”
The center is the largest facility in Western North Carolina with the 7,200-person capacity Arena, the 2,431-person capacity Thomas Wolf Auditorium, the 450-person capacity Banquet Hall and 25,000 square-feet Exhibit Hall.
“The roof project is one of the largest capital investments the facility has seen since 1975 when the civic center was built and the auditorium remodeled,” said Dover, who has worked for the Civic Center for nearly 11 years.
Thus far, workers have removed most of the old roof and put down a temporary one so the upper concrete columns can be power washed and cracks sealed against further weather damage. After the structural repairs are made, insulation will be laid that is nearly double the previous amount, and the new roof will be installed over it. The fading brown cornish trim on the roof will also be removed and replaced.
These new improvements will remove mold growth, increase the facility’s energy efficiency and allow staff to remove the tarps that have been hanging from the arena ceiling and catching drips for the past three years.
In addition to the roof project, $250,000 in capital funds budgeted for the Civic Center this year will be spread out over various projects according to the most pressing facility needs. Other smaller capital projects recently completed include an upgraded fire alarm system and new smoke hatches in the stage area of the auditorium. The portable-basketball court flooring is currently being refinished and painted so it is ready for the annual Globetrotter visit and the Crossfire Ministries.
The arena is also getting an upgraded electrical system to meet the changing requirements for incoming acts. The installment of three 400-amp three-phase 208 disc connects for additional electrical power will be necessary to accommodate Disney on Ice’s Thanksgiving week show, where they will need the power to run their ice plant.
“The city is investing resources to address deferred maintenance and improve the facility so that the condition of the building matches the quality of the entertainment it attracts,” said Asheville’s Vice Mayor Jan Davis, who serves as the City Council liaison to the Civic Center Commission. “We want to enhance the patrons’ experience at the Civic Center while managing its operations within our financial means.”
While the roof replacement is the facility’s largest immediate project, the Civic Center has mapped out a five-year capital plan to help sustain the quality of services it has been offering. Meeting basic codes, improving energy efficiencies, and improving sound and lighting to meet the changing needs of entertainment acts are all part of this plan.
Once the roof is complete, work will begin on the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium fire exit, to improve egress from the building. The stage lighting controls and fixtures with 1970’s technology also need to be replaced with more efficient ones that will have an anticipated two to three year payback on energy savings.
While the Asheville Civic Center is continually making improvements, it is still very much in high demand, turning down as many acts as it books because dates requested are already booked. It offers a special service to the Asheville area, bringing groups from the community together and groups from outside the area in, positively impacting the economy of the area.
The Asheville Civic Center is a regional destination for outstanding entertainment, trade shows and events. The Civic Center offers Western North Carolina diverse entertainment from rock concerts and sporting events to family shows and performing arts. The facility is the heart of downtown Asheville’s arts and entertainment scene. For more information on facilities and events, please visit www.AshevilleCivicCenter.com