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A look inside Gainesville Civic Center as it undergoes $1.2 million renovation
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Gainesville Parks and Recreation Director Kate Mattison tours the Gainesville Civic Center Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 as renovation work has started at the Center, the first major renovation since the early 1990s. - photo by Scott Rogers

Carpet is being ripped up, a stone wall is being cut through and new paint is being applied as a $1.2 million renovation goes into full swing at the Gainesville Civic Center.

The historic building at 830 Green St. is closed to the public until renovation is complete in mid-March, officials said.

The work includes adding three meeting rooms to accommodate smaller rentals or break-out sessions of larger gatherings, major video and audio upgrades, new floors, and fresh paint and lighting.

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Renovation work has started at the Gainesville Civic Center Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, which will be the first major renovation since the early 1990s. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hardwoods will remain in the grand ballroom, the facility’s centerpiece.

“The look of the ballroom won’t change that much,” said Kate Mattison, director of Gainesville Parks & Recreation, as she gave The Times a tour of the construction site Friday, Jan. 15.

The civic center houses the city parks department’s administrative offices, which have moved from the first floor of the building to the third floor. That area of the first floor has been set aside for some smaller meeting spaces.

The ballroom will get two new large LED screens on either side of the fireplace and some audio upgrades, which will help make the space useful for presentations, Mattison said. In the two other rooms on the second floor, the city will install drop-down projectors with screens.

As far as the overall building, which dates to the 1940s, “we have to keep the traditional character and charm,,” she said. “We can’t go doing … a modern look.”

The bulk of funding for the project will come from city Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money. Other money will come from the Parks & Recreation budget.

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Former office space undergoes major renovations Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, at the Gainesville Civic Center as the structure gets it's first major renovation since the early 1990s. - photo by Scott Rogers
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