Centennial Hall, left, and the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. There are proposals for a New JACC and renovated Centennial Hall, but when work would happen and how it would be funded are still being decided. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Centennial Hall, left, and the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. There are proposals for a New JACC and renovated Centennial Hall, but when work would happen and how it would be funded are still being decided. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Centennial Hall work could start with small improvements

Committee considers handful of high-priority improvements

Centennial Hall renovations could come in waves rather than an all-at-once tsunami.

Monday, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee passed both work on the convention center and events venue on to the Committee of the Whole without specific recommendations. However, the possibility of first pursuing a handful of high-priority improvements was discussed.

“All of this doesn’t have to happen right away,” said Public Works and Engineering Director Mike Vigue. “If we wanted phase work, we could have that option.”

Last week, MRV Architects presented a concept for a renovated Centennial Hall with an estimated $18 million price tag, but Vigue presented a prioritized breakdown of the work. Improving mechanical and electrical systems — new air-source heating pumps, duct work, new WiFi and more — was at the top of a list of 13 facets of the proposed overhaul.

[New estimates are in, here’s what it could cost to fix Centennial Hall]

It was followed, in order, by renovating the ballroom, new construction and foyer expansion and renovations to existing portions of the foyer.

The estimated cost of completing work on those four priorities would be about $4.2 million, according to construction estimate documents.

Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale, chairperson for the public works committee, made a motion that the Committee of the Whole specifically consider approving work on just those four areas as an alternative to the full project.

The motion came as an amendment to Assembly member Rob Edwardson’s motion to send discussion of the project to the Committee of the Whole.

Edwardson and Assembly member Carole Triem objected to the motion.

“My only hesitation is, I don’t feel as this committee we’ve discussed financing all that much,” Triem said.

Plus, she said she anticipates financing will be heavily discussed by Committee of the Whole.

Edwardson said he did not want to “prime” the next committee to vote a certain way.

Travel Juneau President and CEO Liz Perry was present but did not speak at the meeting. She has been an advocate for expanded break-out space at Centennial Hall in order to better attract conventions to Juneau.

After the meeting, Perry said break-out space is still what would best help Travel Juneau market Centennial Hall as a convention location, but the smaller renovation package would help.

“Any improvement to Centennial Hall is going to help us sell it,” Perry said. “Any renovations are welcome.”

The proposed New JACC project drew virtually no discussion and was sent on to the Committee of the Whole.

Recently, the Partnership, the nonprofit entity fundraising for the New JACC, requested $7.5 million in support from the city.

[Despite dry weather, there will be fireworks]

If public support for either the New JACC or Centennial Hall work is going to appeal on ballots this year, action will need to take place this month.

The latest a ballot proposition can be introduced is July 22, and the last regular Assembly meeting at which a proposition can be adopted is Aug. 19.

Art in the wings

The committee recommended the Assembly approve Juneau International Airport’s commission of four pieces of art.

Commissioning $147,800 of artwork is meant to meet the CBJ ordinance that requires 1 percent of construction of municipal facilities go toward public art work. In this case, the artwork would be for the north terminal reconstruction project.

[Airport seeks funding for north terminal rebuild]

Fulfilling the 1 percent for art ordinance works a lot like other municipal projects. A call for artists is advertised, proposals are received and then reviewed. In total, 35 proposals were received, according to city documents.

The four proposed pieces chosen by an art panel, which included a mix of airport board members and artists, are “Herring Catch” by Rachal Juzeler for $42,800, “Formline Design Wall Mural” by Alison Marks for $20,000, “Wooden Carving” by Robert Mills for $35,000 and “Southeast Scenery Etched Glass” by Crystal Worl for $50,000.

Hale asked if those four projects preclude other displays from appearing at the airport.

Airport manager Patty Wahto said artwork on loan can continue to be displayed.

“But it is not something we own, like these would be,” Wahto said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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