On Monday, Charleston’s city offices, including its disaster response offices, open in the new $142 million Gaillard Center.
The Gaillard Center, which includes a performing arts center scheduled to open later this year, is the most expensive municipal project in Charleston’s 345-year history.
The city’s Public Service and Planning, Preservation and Sustainability departments are moving in, along with Revenue Collections and Fire Marshal offices.
The Gaillard Center also will house Charleston’s emergency operations center, where state and local emergency officials can gather during a natural disaster or other emergency.
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The performing arts center will be dedicated in October. It had been scheduled to open in April, in time for the Spoleto festival, but the opening was delayed so builders could tune the performing space. In addition to the offices and performing arts space, the new building includes a ballroom, banquet space and outdoor gardens.
The center replaces the old Gaillard Auditorium near Calhoun and East Bay streets. The city offices will face George Street, on either side of the main, portico-style entrance. Visitors will pass the office space, then walk through a lobby to get to the performance and exhibition halls.
THE GAILLARD CENTER
The center offers space for music, dance, theater, trade shows and galas.
The 1,800-seat Performance Hall creates an inviting setting where artist and audience come together – and connect. Designed in the tradition of Europe’s great opera houses, the Hall is a seamless blend of form and function that delivers an amazing and unforgettable experience.
In addition to offering a variety of concerts year round, the facility plays host to Spoleto Festival USA and Charleston Symphony Orchestra performances.
The Exhibition Hall offers nearly 16,000 square feet of ballroom, exhibition, and banquet space, all surrounding a grand two-story lobby.
The banquet space opens onto a meticulously manicured 7,300-square-foot festival lawn.
The center is the new home to municipal offices.
Residents and those doing business with the city can visit a kiosk-style permit center that includes information and services involving building and construction, development, business permitting, revenue collections, planning, zoning and building inspection permits.
EMERGENCY COMMAND CENTER
Also housed in the Gaillard Center will be Charleston’s municipal emergency operations center.
The new command center will be a place where city and state officials can gather during a natural or other disaster. The part of the center will be resistant to most hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and any other natural disasters, emergency officials say.
SOURCE: Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation, City of Charleston