Options From $1 Million to $33 Million : Civic Auditorium Plans Presented

Times Staff Writer

Glendale could spend less than $1 million to refurbish its aging Civic Auditorium or as much as $33 million to demolish the building and build a new convention center and performing arts theater on the city-owned site, said a consultant’s report issued this week.

But the Glendale City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to conduct public hearings before deciding how much--if any--money the city should spend to renovate the 48-year-old Civic Auditorium and adjacent Verdugo Swim Stadium, which are on North Verdugo Road across from Glendale Community College.

The report by Economics Research Associates and Albert C. Martin and Associates was the second study commissioned by the city to help council members decide what to do with the 60,000-square-foot auditorium and the pool.

A nine-month study last year by consultants EdCon recommended a $1.2-million renovation. That cost did not include any work on the pool.

But the council decided last summer to hire a second firm to find out how much it would cost to replace the auditorium.

The Civic Auditorium, used for events such as antique shows, beauty pageants and high school dances, has a leaky roof and needs new paint, floors, walls, kitchen, stage, sound equipment and a fire-sprinkler system, city officials said.

The badly cracked pool loses 2,000 gallons of water a day and must be constantly refilled.

The most ambitious of the six options presented in the latest report is a $33-million one to demolish the existing auditorium and swimming stadium and build a 40,000-square-foot convention center, a 1,500-seat performing arts theater and two parking garages that would hold 1,200 cars.

The option does not include a pool.

Other options in the report are:

A $922,000 renovation of the auditorium, leaving the pool as is.

Renovation of the auditorium, pool house and pool, as well as construction of an arts and crafts center at a total cost of $1.4 million.

A $3-million remodeling of the existing auditorium to accommodate large banquets and conventions, and renovation of the pool house and pool.

Remodeling of the existing building and addition of an arts and crafts center, as well as a 300- to 400-seat theater, estimated to cost $5.8 million to $6.6 million. In this plan, the pool would be eliminated and the pool house converted into an art gallery.

The study did not recommend which option the city should select.

However, Glendale Parks and Recreation Director Henry Agonia recommended Tuesday that the council approve yet another plan that would include $5 million in repairs and construction.

That plan would begin with a $1-million renovation of the Civic Auditorium and construction of a $1-million conference center on the site of the swimming stadium.

Later, the city could make another $3 million in improvements for new kitchen facilities, parking and extensive auditorium remodeling, Agonia said.

The council voted to send the report, including Agonia’s recommendation, to the city Parks and Recreation Commission for public hearings and a recommendation to the City Council.