Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Bud Carpeneti, board member for the New JACC Partnership, second from the left, describes one of three proposals for New JACC and Centennial Hall improvements during a Assembly Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Michele Elfers, deputy director for the city Parks and Recreation Department, left, Liz Perry, President and CEO for Travel Juneau, and Craig Dahl, executive director for the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, right, also spoke during the panel discussion. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Former Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Bud Carpeneti, board member for the New JACC Partnership, second from the left, describes one of three proposals for New JACC and Centennial Hall improvements during a Assembly Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Michele Elfers, deputy director for the city Parks and Recreation Department, left, Liz Perry, President and CEO for Travel Juneau, and Craig Dahl, executive director for the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, right, also spoke during the panel discussion. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Both the JACC and Centennial Hall want big improvements, could one building be the answer?

The idea was discussed during a meeting, but details for the plan don’t yet exist

A revamped Centennial Hall and a New Juneau Arts & Culture Center could one day be housed in the same two-story building, but the concept is in its infancy.

The possibility was one idea for the futures of the convention center and the arts and culture venue discussed Wednesday during a special meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee.

The meeting was an informal panel discussion among committee members and representatives from the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce, Travel Juneau, the New JACC partnership and CBJ Parks and Recreation Building Maintenance.

The New JACC is a proposed replacement for the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, which was built in 1959. Centennial Hall is an event venue and convention center containing a gallery owned by the city and managed by Juneau Arts & Humanities Council.

The combined New JACC and Centennial Hall concept, which would be mutually exclusive from the long-discussed standalone New JACC, was presented by Liz Perry, President and CEO for Travel Juneau.

“This is a draft concept that again we were asked to produce,” Perry said of a conceptual drawing of a two-floor combined New JACC and Centennial Hall. “There’s not any engineering behind it.”

[What’s the future for New JACC funding]

“It’s a step up from being done on the back of a napkin,” she added after the meeting.

Perry said the sketch came at the request of both the New JACC Partnership and Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon and has been in existence for less than a month.

That meant there was little in the way of concrete information regarding the idea such as how long the project would take to complete or when it would be ready to break ground.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” Perry said when asked by Assembly member Rob Edwardson. “That is an engineering department question. Certainly we’re way behind the efforts of the New JACC partnership.”

The Centennial Hall-New JACC concept came with some support from the chamber, which was represented at the meeting because of past concerns about how the New JACC could impact sales tax or property tax, parking and general interest in what happens to Centennial Hall, said chamber Executive Director Craig Dahl.

Bud Carpeneti, New JACC Partnership board member, said the New JACC board has not yet discussed the conceptual sketch that combined features both the New JACC and Travel Juneau covet but also omitted some features, such as a gallery, on the New JACC wishlist.

He said it was tough to form an opinion on the possible New JACC alternative because of a lack of concrete detail. However, combining the entities into a single building could be tough during construction, Carpeneti said.

“Putting everything together would mean we’re without any facilities for two to three years, and I think that’s not going to work,” Carpeneti said.

Carpeneti also discussed the long-gestating standalone New JACC concept, which he said has been in the works for about six years and comes with an estimated price tag of $26.4 million. The project is 19 percent of the way to raising those funds, according to the New JACC website.

[New JACC hits major donor milestone]

However, it was the less-established joint concept that sparked the most discussion.

A third option was mentioned in the meeting’s agenda, but not spoken about at length during the actual meeting.

Carpeneti said that option would be two separately renovated or reconstructed buildings joined by an atrium or some sort of substantial, covered and connecting structure.

Perry said it’s important that one way or another something be done to make Centennial Hall more attractive because as it is, the hall is becoming more difficult to pitch to people planning meetings and conventions.

“In the last several years we’ve run into a Centennial Hall that’s aging, and it’s aging inside and out,” Perry said. ”We want it to be a jewel of downtown, and it just is not that right now.”

Regardless of which option is chosen, new facilities will likely come with an increased maintenance cost.

Assembly member Wade Bryson asked if there would be maintenance savings realized by new projects.

Michele Elfers, deputy director for CBJ Parks and Recreation, said there would likely be increased spending on maintenance and generally new buildings require 2 or 3 percent of the cost of the building in maintenance annually.

Elfers said currently about $100,000 is spent maintaining Centennial Hall annually.

For a $26.4 million project that would work out to be $792,000.

“We’re not maintaining our facilities right now to that 3 percent standard,” she said. “We’re probably close to that 1 percent.”

Another certainty is that conversation about Centennial Hall and JACC improvements won’t be going away.

Future meetings are scheduled for April and will cover funding scenarios, ownership options and eventually public testimony.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

State senators meet with members of the media at the Alaska State Capitol to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.
Little public reaction to city’s bailout of school district this year, but big questions beyond loom

Only two people testify Monday about proposed $4.1M loan and taking over $3.9 in “shared costs.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mauka Grunenberg looks at live oysters for sale on Aug. 29, 2022, at Sagaya City Market in Anchorage. The oysters came from a farm in Juneau. Oysters, blue mussels and sugar, bull and ribbon kelp are the main products of an Alaska mariculture industry that has expanded greatly in recent years. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s mariculture industry expands, with big production increases in recent years, report says

While Alaska’s mariculture industry is small by global standards, production of farmed… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (center) walks with Alaska Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks, and Alaska Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, into the Alaska House of Representatives chambers ahead of her annual address to the Alaska Legislature on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Peltola celebrates federal intervention in Albertsons, Kroger merger in legislative address

Congresswoman says wins for Alaska’s fisheries and state’s economy occurring through collaboration.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

A photo by Ben Huff being exhibited as part of his presentation at 6:30 p.m. at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Museum)
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday in March

Both the state and city museums are celebrating 20 years of artistic… Continue reading

Goose Creek Correctional Center is seen in fall. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Corrections)
Alaska prison failed to provide adequate dental care to inmates, state investigator finds

Goose Creek Correctional Center has gone years without a hygienist, forcing patients to wait

Most Read