Kingsport officials mull face-lift for 74-year-old Civic Auditorium

Matthew Lane • Feb 11, 2014 at 10:25 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Civic Auditorium is an iconic landmark in the Model City, easily one of the most utilized buildings in town, hosting more than 200 events a year — everything from wedding receptions and community meetings to dances, sporting events, book sales and gun shows.

However, city and elected officials agree the 74-year-old building is showing its age and is in need of a facelift and some modernization, especially given that the facility has not been remodeled in about 40 years.

The topic came up at a recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session, during a visioning session on the Leisure Services Department.

“We’ve had a desire to make some improvements to the Civic Auditorium for quite some time,” said Chris McCartt, assistant to the city manager. “It began a couple of years ago when we were going through and looking at multiple facilities in the city for energy efficient improvements.”

At that time, the facility received new windows, doors and lighting fixtures and upgrades to the HVAC system, which had a big impact on the energy costs associated with the building.

“There are still a lot of other things that need to be done,” McCartt said.

If funding is approved, city officials would be looking to replace the 40-year-old floor in the main auditorium along with upgrading and modernizing the restrooms and meeting rooms that surround the auditorium.

During last week’s meeting, Mayor Dennis Phillips said the Civic Auditorium desperately needs a kitchen area.

“It needs an overall face-lift and is used more than anyone probably realizes,” Phillips said. “But we shouldn’t put a nail in the place unless we put a kitchen in it.”

For an expanded version of this article, please see Wednesday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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