Mauldin plans cultural center renovation

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Mauldin is planning major renovations for the city’s Cultural Center, with a new lobby with a bar and an outdoor plaza among some of the potential changes on the way.

The City Council approved the planned improvements unanimously at its regular meeting Monday. 

“It’s been hugely important to the quality of life of our city,” said Van Broad, the city’s community development director.

The Cultural Center is key for connectivity in the city and business development and recruitment, he said.

Mauldin’s Cultural Center, which was formerly a school building, was purchased by the city in the mid-2000s and its role as a hub for city events has continued to grow over time, with a children’s theater company performing for sell-out audiences and community groups leasing space there. Outside, an amphitheater area has been home to the city’s popular Beachin Fridays summer music series as well as the Mauldin Farmers Market and the annual “SOOIE, Mauldin BBQ Cook-off,” which kicked off its 10th year this past weekend.

Now, the city hopes to make the space even better for residents and visitors. There has been an issue with a bottleneck among crowds at the entry to the building and the city hopes to alleviate those traffic issues with an expanded lobby area and plaza, according to city documents.

Features of the new lobby are planned to include:

  • Handicap accessible bathrooms 
  • Warming kitchen 
  • Bar space
  • Loading patio for catering 
  • New entrances and exits into the lobby and auditorium 
  • A plaza area that will act as an extension of the lobby, while also offering reception leasing space, an extended area for guests to relax, accommodation for overflow crowds and entertainment space for small productions and private gatherings

The city also plans the following overall improvements as part of the renovation as well:

  • Window repairs 
  • Renovation and relocation of bathrooms beside auditorium 
  • Construction of a new ticket booth 
  • Ceiling drywall maintenance 
  • Finish and complete sheetrock and painting green room 
  • New awnings over front windows and others and lighting 

The plan requires no new funding, using already budgeted Capital Improvement Plan dollars, according to city documents.The renovation plans are projected to cost approximately $558,000, according to city documents.

The city also plans to apply for grant funding from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and is working to line up some private donations, Broad said. If the city doesn’t raise all the funds it’s aiming to, “we’ll scale back and do what we have funding for,” he said.

The city will be putting the project out to bid this fall and lists a potential start date for the work as early as Dec. 1.

You can connect with reporter Gabe Cavallaro on Twitter @gabe_cavallaro or facebook.com/cavallarogabe or email him at [email protected]

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