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Civic Center Facilities Upgrade Now Complete

The Colleton Civic Center is all set for to extend the timeline of pride associated with the largest brick building located downtown. Only the Colleton County courthouse can upstage the Civic Center when it comes to landmark status on Hampton Street. The calendar of events at the Civic Center is set to blossom this fall during a grand opening celebration concert on October 5 by The Spinners, followed up by a concert from Ricky Skaggs on October 26. The tenth annual Polo For The Point fundraiser is set for November 10, giving the local community another way to join the chorus supporting the Civic Center.

“When people come up to me and say, I’m so glad yall are preserving this school building, it really is very gratifying,” said Jean Harrigal, executive director at the Civic Center. “Colleton County owns the Civic Center building, and they purchased it from the Colleton County school district. The county’s half-cent sales tax helped several entities and we were both fortunate and grateful to be on that list. That 1.7-million dollars began a renovation project on June 1, 2017 that addresses every need for the facility to move forward as a modern civic center.”

The list of what is brand new at the Colleton Civic Center is as long as it is impressive. At the same time, great care to preserve parts of the past can be seen such as the original cork bulletin boards from school days that are still in use. Don’t overlook the smaller stuff either, like native sweetgrass plants that adorn the front of the building, or the new concrete handicap entrance ramp on the side of the auditorium entrance, adjacent to the new coat check room.

There is a new climate control HVAC system in place that ensures comfortable temperatures inside the main auditorium as well as in every hallway. The new heating and air plan allowed for the removal of the old radiator units against the walls in this main foyer, which creates lots more usable space. The only noticeable fixture left in the foyer is the porcelain water fountain that was featured in the movie Forrest Gump, and also in the movie Radio. The way the Civic Center looks right now, it might not be long until Hollywood visits Walterboro again bringing their lights, camera and action.

Speaking of audio visual equipment, the gallery space at the Civic Center now has a drop down screen and a projector for groups to use during meetings. All new windows let in ample light from the outdoor atrium area at the Civic Center, and the walls are covered in panels that are ready to display local art. A newly renovated catering space adjoins the gallery, making it easier for luncheon events to stage their food out of sight. Two handicap bathrooms are also in close proximity to the gallery, and fresh paint by Mitchell Construction has been applied everywhere.

Stepping into the main auditorium at the Civic Center is like walking into a concert hall now more than ever. A theatre architect was hired to change the old stage and seats combo into a more sound friendly arena. A company from Virginia called Stage Sound brought in modern sound proofing panels in the back of the auditorium and added 14 speakers surrounding the auditorium with two subwoofers up front. The A/V closet backstage and the state of the art soundboard and computer system in the back of the auditorium will perfectly balance the sounds coming from any performance in the future.

Thirteen overhead spotlights are mounted on the ceiling and the aisles now feature lighted edges for easier navigation after the house lights dim. What else is new for the auditorium? New carpets, new paint on the flooring, new retractable window curtains, new rigging behind center stage, new dressing rooms, and even a brand new loading zone. Stepping into a dressing room I was able to view the lighted make-up mirrors that will enable those in costume to visually prepare every detail of their hair and costume presentations with ease.

It’s exciting to share that the Civic Center has an ongoing program called the Have A Seat campaign, where supporters can pay $150 to have an oval brass nameplate attached to one of the auditorium chairs. Of the 480 seats, about 70 have been named thus far, and to add a name call the Civic Center at 843-549-8360. A brand new website at ColletonCivic.org will bring their new footprint to the Internet, including online ticket sales for the grand opening and all other events. Gregg Steele Heppner has been hired to handle marketing and programming for the non-profit Colleton Civic Center.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com.

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (345 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com