By Stefanie Bainum
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – It's been the cornerstone of Calhoun and Anson streets for nearly 50 years. The Gaillard Auditorium is about to get a complete facelift to become a state of the art facility.
Steve Knight of the design architecture firm David M. Schwarz Architects, based out of Washington D.C., is one of many people to give the Gaillard Auditorium a whole new look.
"What is it that one wants to preserve? And rather than preserving the Gaillard as we know it, we find that what the community wants is to preserve the idea of Charleston," Knight said.
Renovations include an updated auditorium, where 900 seats will be lost to create better acoustics.
Also in the works -- an ornate atrium and a new banquet hall fit for weddings and large meeting events. Knight says the renovations are long overdue in a beautiful city like Charleston.
"In a way, it's just more of what Charleston is and that seems to be a good thing," Knight said.
The renovated Gaillard will also include new consolidated City of Charleston offices.
"Your day-to-day administration and all the city staff who are working on behalf of the citizens are all working in a much more efficient manner," said Michael Maher, director of the City of Charleston's Civic Design Center.
Now, what about that price tag for the project?
"The overall project cost is $142 million, and that is to be split 50/50 between the city and the private sector," Maher said.
Maher said it's a price that's worth every penny to create those immeasurable memories.
"It's a great economics package, but it's a great package for the life of the city," Maher said.
Construction on the project is expected to start mid-summer and is set to be completed by late 2014.
The Gaillard renovation will be the largest single project in the City of Charleston's history.