Centennial Hall during the afternoon on Monday, July 2, 2018. Centennial Hall’s day-to-day operations are now being handled by Juneau Arts & Humanaties Council. (Gregory Philson | Juneau Empire)

Centennial Hall during the afternoon on Monday, July 2, 2018. Centennial Hall’s day-to-day operations are now being handled by Juneau Arts & Humanaties Council. (Gregory Philson | Juneau Empire)

Centennial Hall under new management

Juneau Arts and Humanities Council now running day-to-day operations

Centennial Hall’s day-to-day operations are now under new management.

After months of discussion, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council officially took over management duties from the City and Borough of Juneau on July 1.

Benjamin Brown, Marketing & Development at JAHC, said having the JAHC take over the management duties at Centennial Hall is something they have been looking forward to doing.

“The whole reason we are so pleased to be doing this is because of the Arts Council’s strong record of high-level customer satisfaction,” Brown said in a phone interview with the Empire Monday. “We hope we can bring that to (Centennial Hall). We are just eager to meet the challenges.”

Under the new agreement, the CBJ retains responsibility for the building, major repairs and most preventative maintenance. The JAHC will be responsible for minor repairs, booking and running events. It will submit an operational plan, a facility maintenance plan, an operating budget and, in conjunction with Travel Juneau, a marketing plan on an annual basis. It is a five-year agreement between the CBJ and JAHC. Either party can terminate the agreement with a six-month notice unless there is a cause and then CBJ can terminate immediately. A mutual agreement may also terminate the agreement on another time frame.

This new management all falls under new proposed plans for the New JACC. During the CBJ Finance Committee meeting on June 13, New JACC partnership board members Bud Carpeneti, John Clough and building program manager Bob Banghart made a presentation asking the CBJ to place a $12 million general obligation bond measure on the upcoming city municipal election Oct. 2 ballot to fund Centennial Hall renovations.

The $12 million amount breaks down to $7.5 million to the New JACC and Centennial Hall, and $4.5 million, which has already been approved to the venue by sales tax revenue, would go toward just Centennial Hall. The $7.5 million will come in from a combination of property taxes and hotel bed tax. Hotel bed tax is the amount of taxes visitors pay to stay in a hotel room. During that meeting, the committee also unanimously approved having staff write an ordinance to increase the bed tax from 5 to 7 percent. The bond measure and the bed tax ordinance still need to go through the CBJ Assembly.

The renovations are all part of the new design for the New JACC. Instead of the New JACC being a separate building, it would be connected physically to Centennial Hall. The new design features a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, an expansion of Centennial Hall’s lobby, the construction of a portion of the New JACC and an enclosed and heated corridor between the two buildings. The total cost of the New JACC project is estimated to be $31 million, which is about $5 million more than originally proposed.

Brown said the new plans for the New JACC are not necessarily completely set, but was introduced after Travel Juneau approached the council about concerns that the initial plans for the New JACC were not optimal for conventions.

In an email sent to the Empire Monday, Travel Juneau Vice President Liz Perry said if the renovations do happen, it will make promoting the venue that much easier.

“In general, the ability to market both facilities as one meeting campus could prove valuable, even more so if Centennial Hall gets a much-needed update to its facade alongside regular upgrades to its infrastructure and interior design,” Perry said.

With both facilities connected, Brown said it should lead to “maximum user experience.”

“We are still in the final rendering stages,” Brown said. “We are moving in that direction to have the two facilities as integrated as much as possible.”

• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at gphilson@juneauempire.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.

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