Centennial Hall during the afternoon on Monday, July 2, 2018. (Gregory Philson | Juneau Empire File)

Centennial Hall during the afternoon on Monday, July 2, 2018. (Gregory Philson | Juneau Empire File)

Centennial Hall’s needs move into focus

Project would help guide New JACC conversations

A plan is in motion to determine what improving Centennial Hall entails.

An overhaul to the convention center and event venue is part of conversations surrounding the proposed New Juneau Arts & Culture Center project. But while the replacement for the current JACC has years of research behind it, the specifics of a Centennial Hall renovation or rebuild aren’t filled in.

That’s where a Centennial Hall Conceptual Option study outlined Tuesday night during a special City and Borough of Juneau Public Works and Facilities Committee comes in.

“The idea is we know a lot about what the New JACC needs are, we don’t know a lot about what Centennial Hall needs are,” said Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale, committee chairwoman. “The idea of this contract and the resulting public meetings and presentations are just to inform us what those needs are. What we’re trying to do on the committee is bring it forward a couple of steps so we can bring it back to the Assembly as a whole.”

The contract she referenced is a $50,000 agreement with MRV Architects, which has developed a six-step plan for Centennial Hall design. Funding for the study came from a fund transfer approved at an April 8 Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting.

Hale said the effort is a digression from the committee re-examining potentially bringing public funding options for the New JACC to municipal ballots, but it will help inform discussions.

The Centennial Hall study plan as outlined by Paul Voelckers, MRV Architects president and architect, included identification of space needs, initial conceptual design options, construction estimate, option analysis, selection and graphic refinement of conceptual options and cost estimates for construction and operational expenses.

The last step is slated for June 14-20, according to a plan shared by Voelckers, and he said the goal of the study is to produce a “shopping list” of Centennial Hall improvement options.

There would also be multiple public presentations with an initial event scheduled for the evening of May 7 at Centennial Hall.

Assembly members and Voelckers discussed the scope of the study.

Assembly member Rob Edwardson asked if there would be time to voice support for a standalone New JACC project that is not combined with Centennial Hall plans.

[Could a shared building be the answer for the New JACC and Centennial Hall?]

“I’m not warming up to the idea as a combined facility,” he said.

Hale said there may be time for that and discussions of what entity will own the future New JACC at later meetings.

Voelckers also provided some additional insight into the focus of the study.

“The focus is on a standalone Centennial Hall,” Voelckers said. “We’re not changing the design of the New JACC at all. We’re not trying to excessively comingle the facilities.”

He said there are some obvious ways the two projects could be linked, including a physical connection between two buildings, and that will be considered. Determining the viability of a previously discussed two-floor combined New JACC-Centennial Hall concept is not goal of the study.

Assembly member Wade Bryson asked why the single-building option for Centennial Hall and the JACC was not being considered as part of the study.

CBJ Engineering and Public Works Director Mike Vigue said the relatively short duration of the contract and its budget it made sense to not “bog it down” with a more expansive focus.

Hale referenced a simile made by Assembly member Carole Triem, who compared the New JACC and Centennial Hall projects to swimming and diving in that they’re wholly separate entities that are linked in public consciousness.

[New report brings good news for New JACC]

Water sport metaphors were common throughout the meeting.

“We do have two different user facilities, but it does not require we build two pools,” Bryson said. “That’s where I thought the study might come into play. We’ll just study what the Centennial Hall absolute needs are.”

Assembly members said the study’s Centennial Hall-specific focus doesn’t necessarily exclude that option, but Voelckers said after only about a week into the project, it seems the two buildings would work together without creating inefficiencies.

“I don’t think there will be a redundancy,” he said.


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


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maassen receives applause from his fellow justices and members of the Alaska Legislature during the annual State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy will be asked to pick fourth state Supreme Court justice

Applications being accepted to replace Peter Maassen, who reaches mandatory retirement age next year

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, June 10, 2024

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

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska ranked choice repeal measure wins first round of legal challenge, but trial awaits

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a proposed… Continue reading

Juneau resident Ajah Rose Bishop, 21, suffered severe spinal injuries in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning. (GoFundMe fundraiser photo)
Woman breaks spine in single-vehicle collision on Egan Drive early Saturday morning

21-year-old Juneau resident medivaced to Anchorage, online fundraising effort underway.

Shannan Greene (left) and Sharyn Augustine hold signs on April 27 urging residents to sign recall petitions for Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen and Vice President Emil Mackey due to their roles in a budget crisis for the current fiscal year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
School board recall petitions submitted; supporters of Saturday cruise ship ban need more signatures

Third initiative seeking to repeal default by-mail elections also has 10 days to get more signers.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, June 9, 2024

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

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, June 8, 2024

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

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, June 7, 2024

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

Most Read