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Arts, convention center projects weighed in Juneau

June 29, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Backers of a new Juneau Arts and Culture Center are seeking $7.5 million from the city as part of ongoing fundraising efforts.

Bruce Botelho, co-chair of the New JACC Partnership, which is raising money for the center, said about $5.5 million has been raised of the project’s estimated $26.4 million cost.

Botelho said the amount requested from the City and Borough of Juneau would demonstrate the project’s viability and could lead to more donations.

“No funder is going to go forward with this project if they don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told the Assembly’s Public Works and Facilities Committee.

Capital City Weekly reported the committee met to discuss proposals for the center and renovations to neighboring Centennial Hall.

Committee chair Michelle Bonnet Hale said the discussion likely would shape decision-making at an upcoming committee meeting scheduled for Monday.

Paul Voelckers, president and architect for MRV Architects, which received a $50,000 contract to design an updated Centennial Hall, presented a recommended approach he said combines options previously publicly shared.

The proposal would include new construction, covered walkways and major renovation. It would include a connection between the new arts center and Centennial Hall. Site improvements, including parking and street improvements, also were recommended.

Voelckers said he conservatively pegged the cost around $18 million, with about $3 million going to the street work.

The committee did not discuss ways to possibly pay for the renovations.

Voelckers said renovating is a better value than rebuilding. “You’re spending 40% of what you would spend to get equivalent brand new space,” he said.

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