Renovations to City Bank Auditorium could be costly

Reported by: Caitlin Napoleoni
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Updated: 2/21/2013 10:40 pm
The issue of Lubbock's again performing arts center has been on the shelf for almost ten years now.  Actually, to call the municipal auditorium a performing arts center is laughable.  The building is so bad, that production companies are threatening to pull their shows due to poor working conditions.

When asked what's wrong with the City Bank Auditorium, councilman, Floyd Price, said "you name it, the bathrooms need fixing, the carpet needs fixing."

Heating and air conditioning problems, poor lighting, old seating and many other issues has the City Bank Auditorium needing about $9 million in renovations.  City planners are looking for different options for this venue.

Tim Collins, former chairman of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce told us "they were going to look at the old facilities, the existing facilities and determine if they needed to be replaced, if they should be refurbished, if we had enough facilities on hand as it is."

In 2004, $4.5 million dollars was appointed for renovations.  When the city decided to research the cost of that type of project, it ended up being more expensive than they thought it would be.

Assistant City Manager, Scott Snider, told us "we presented those numbers to city council and it was 8.2 million dollars.  That 8.2 million dollars was going to be a complete renovation of the facility."

The renovations never happened and Price said that window closed when the money was put elsewhere. "It's not any money still sitting there.  I believe '09 is when we actually utilized some of that four point some million dollars to do some renovations on the Civic Center and some other buildings ,so it's not just laying out there anymore."

Recent threats from production companies to pull shows from the building have hastened the need for a decision to be made.  Price said "the building's not suitable for the type of plays that they're bringing in."  Snider added "the facility will stay as is without the approval of any additional funding to make any renovations whatsoever."

Other options besides refurbishing the auditorium will need more than council's support.  Price explained "anything that we gonna do as far as trying to tear it down or sell it to someone, we can't do that.  It's got to be an election held to do that."

Collins said a feasibility study for a new performing arts center is underway to help the city decide the best route to take.  He added "we've had a number of experts from around the country come in an look at our existing facility to poll the users of these facilities and to determine what type of seating capacity we need, what kind of accoutrements should be in the facility and gather information to determine whether there is a need for a new facility here in Lubbock."

Price said the City Bank Auditorium, along with other public safety buildings in Lubbock are on the list of priorities for city council.
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