MRV Architects presented this upgraded Centennial Hall concept to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Public Works & Facilities Committee, June 25, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | MRV Architects)

MRV Architects presented this upgraded Centennial Hall concept to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Public Works & Facilities Committee, June 25, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | MRV Architects)

New estimates are in: Here’s how much it would cost to fix Centennial Hall and fund the New JACC

Special meeting focuses on two big projects

The corner of Egan and Whittier could soon look a lot different, and not just because the traffic control barrels aren’t a permanent installation.

A special City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting Tuesday night focused on a proposed new Juneau Arts & Culture Center and renovations to Centennial Hall.

Committee chair and Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale prefaced the meeting by saying there would be no action taken by the committee during the meeting, but discussion would likely shape decisionmaking at a July 1 regular committee meeting.

[Live: Meeting focuses on Centennial Hall and the New JACC]

Paul Voelckers, president and architect for MRV Architects, presented the committee with a recommended concept for Centennial Hall upgrades. MRV was contracted for $50,000 to develop a design for an improved Centennial Hall in early April.

Voelckers said the final recommendation is a combination of four potential schemes previously shared with the public and represented a “relatively modest” addition in space.

“But it picked up the organizational structure that most people really supported, ” Voelckers said. “And that was creating a much more direct lineal access that took from the north parking to the south entry, expanded the foyer, created line-sight control of the operation, and we made some modest additions in breakout space that are critical in both convention use and local agency use.”

In total the project as proposed would include 8,900 square feet of new construction, 5,000 square feet of covered walkways and 5,400 square feet of major renovation. It would also include a connection between the New JACC and Centennial Hall. Recommended site improvements include organizing the Centennial Hall parking lot and a functional Third Avenue.

Voelckers said a conservative estimate for the Centennial Hall’s project cost is just shy of $18 million — about $3 million would go to the West Third Avenue improvements.

The committee did not discuss potential strategies to fund the renovations.

Voelckers said after the study that was just done, it’s apparent renovating is a better value than rebuilding.

“There is significant retained value,” Voelckers said. “You’re spending 40 percent of what you would spend to get equivalent brand new space.”

The New JACC

Bruce Botelho, co-chair for the New JACC fundraising nonprofit the Partnership, came with a cut and dry request of the CBJ — $7.5 million for the proposed new and improved arts and culture center.

Botelho said so far about $5.5 million has been raised for the $26.4 million project. The requested city contribution would bring the project to just about 50-percent funding, which Botelho said would demonstrate the project’s viability and likely trigger additional support.

[New report brings good news for the New JACC]

“No funder is going to go forward with this project if they don’t think it’s going to happen,” Botelho said while addressing the committee.

After the meeting, he said he is “very” confident there would be significant additional funding at that point. He said he would put the odds at 50-50 that support would bring the project to a point that it could break ground.

The $7.5 million ask is close to what was being considered last year, but is less than has been asked for in the past.

“The amount is consistent with, but I must tell you is lower than, the number we approached the council with in 2012 at about $9.4 million,” Botelho said. “Obviously, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge between now and then.”

That includes a 4-3 vote that failed to advance New JACC funding to municipal ballots, and a lot of public meetings.

Both Botelho and Voelckers said the New JACC and Centennial Hall both being managed by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and filling complimentary roles may offer some savings.

Voelckers said it’s possible one of the buildings could serve as the location for administrative offices, which would free up space in the other building.

Botelho said the New JACC could be a venue for more breakout space or specialty uses.

“It would be a strong complement to Centennial events,” Botelho said. “I underscore this because I think it shows an economy that justifies the city’s investment in the New JACC because it is money you will not be required to spend in doing a dramatic expansion of Centennial Hall.”


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


More in News

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Monday, Jan. 25

The most recent state and local numbers.

This October 2020 photo shows the illuminated Kennicott at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is now accepting comments on the proposed Alaska Marine Highway summer ferry schedule. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Public comment period opens for ferry schedule

A teleconference is set for Feb. 8.

Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé senior Cooper Kriegmont shoots during a basketball game against Ketchikan on Friday,  Jan. 22, 2021. Kriegmont scored his 1,000th point during the two-game series. (Courtesy photo / Lexie Razor)
Good to be back: Short run up leads to mixed results against Ketchikan

“It doesn’t matter what the outcomes were,.”

Cars zoom down the track at Saturday's Pinewood Derby. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to move a virtual format. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)
The race must go on

Cub Scouts take the Pinewood Derby high tech.

n this April 9, 2014, photo, oil rigs stand in the Loco Hills field on U.S. Highway 82 in Eddy County near Artesia, N.M., one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. President Joe Biden is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands, as his administration moves quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment and address climate change.  (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)
Biden to pause oil drilling on public lands

Biden is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

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

In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Pebble developer files appeal with Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership’s application in November.

This August 2019 photos shows a redline at Treadwell Arena designed by Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan. The arena is adding new weekly events to its schedule, City and Borough of Juneau announced. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Treadwell Arena adds new weekly events

Hockey and open skate are on the schedule.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Jan. 22

The most recent state and local numbers.

Most Read