By Ashley Barker
Published Feb. 3, 2014
Hundreds of signatures of Charleston residents adorned a whitewashed piece of steel that became the new Gaillard Center’s highest beam.
Hundreds of Charleston residents came out to sign a beam that was raised atop the Gaillard Center's construction on Friday, marking the highest point of the construction for the cultural arts center.
Renee Anderson, vice chair of Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation, said the signatures represent the city’s residents who grew up going to the Gaillard for dance, music, plays and the circus.
“The new Gaillard will be the community’s largest classroom where theater, dance, jazz and our own Charleston Symphony Orchestra will sow seeds of inspiration for our children and our grandchildren and their children,” Anderson said. “Charleston is poised to reclaim its history as a city of the arts.”
Scheduled to open in spring 2015, the new 77 Calhoun St. facility will include a 1,800-seat performance hall chamber, 16,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and banquet space, a 7,300 square-foot terrace and 11,000 square feet of lawn space. It will replace the Gaillard Auditorium, which opened in 1968 and was instrumental in the founding of Spoleto Festival USA in 1977, according to the foundation.
The $142 million renovation budget is being shared equally between the city of Charleston and private donors, according to Mayor Joe Riley.
“It’s a wonderful gift that together we’re giving to this community,” Riley said. “It’s an amazing, nationally significant example of the public and private sectors working together to create something of extraordinary value to our community.”
During its construction, approximately 1,000 jobs were created. Once it’s opened, 400 new permanent jobs will be created, increasing the annual economic benefit to more than $39 million, the foundation predicts.
The Gaillard Center — designed by David M. Schwarz Architects of Washington, D.C. — will require more than 10,000 cubic yards of concrete, nearly 2 million tons of rebar and 1,500 tons of structural steel, the foundation said. It will have 721 doors, 241 windows, 93 toilets and 6,600 pieces of limestone that will weigh over 3 million pounds. Around 130,000 square feet of carpeting will be installed as well.
Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.