Auditorium Renovation to Cost More Than Expected, Plans Show


Detailed architectural plans to expand and renovate Glendale’s 52-year-old Civic Auditorium show that the project will cost more than expected, a team of consultants told city officials Tuesday.

Architects in 1987 had estimated that the project at 1401 N. Verdugo Road would cost $9.2 million. But because of escalation in construction costs, as well as additions to the project, the cost is now estimated at more than $11.6 million--a 26% increase.

Plans to build a median strip in Verdugo Road, fronting the auditorium, will boost the cost to almost $12 million, said project architect L. Michael McKay of URS Consultants Inc. of Long Beach.

After years of debate over what to do with the deteriorated auditorium, the Glendale City Council in 1988 voted to preserve the building because of its longtime role as a popular site for high school dances, social events and community shows.


But the cavernous auditorium, built as a public works project in 1938, is so worn that the hardwood floors are too thin to be sanded, said Nello Iacono, director of parks, recreation and community services. Renovation of the existing building alone will cost more than $3 million.

Expansion of the auditorium will add 19,100 square feet of meeting rooms, offices and a kitchen to the 58,000-square-foot facility. A three-level parking garage with 376 spaces will be built north of the building. The garage will lead to a large courtyard in front of the entry to the auditorium.

The project is to be built in four phases over a period of several years. The City Council is expected to finalize details of the project next summer when it allocates funds for construction of the first phase, a two-story addition expected to get under way next October.

At the end of the two-hour study session Tuesday, council members said they were pleased that the project will retain and enhance the building’s Spanish colonial or mission-style architectural theme.

The interior will feature dark maroon velvet drapes that will be hung in green-painted archways that are now partially hidden behind acoustical panels. Designers also plan to build new dance floors and install carpeting to improve acoustics in the building.