Civic Center's Rosa Hart Theatre to get renovation - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Civic Center's Rosa Hart Theatre to get renovation

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At more than 40 years old, the Lake Charles Civic Center has no doubt seen better days, especially the Rosa Hart Theatre. 

You don't have to look far in the main lobby to see the damage - water-stained ceiling tiles and exposed insulation are just a few of the eyesores.

After years of discussion, City of Lake Charles officials said they have found the funding for the $3.8 million needed to make what they call necessary repairs.

"We are financing this project primarily in CDBG money which we obtained through the Hurricane Ike/Hurricane Gustav recovery program," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.  

The scope of the project will cover renovations to both the east and west lobbies, including stairs, doors, seating and long overdue upgrades to the bathrooms. But project architect David Moss explained the project is not limited to just Rosa Hart Theatre.

"It also includes the weatherization of all the exterior surfaces on the facility from one end of the building to the other. That will cost about $800,000," said Moss.

The hurricane money covers a little over $3 million. The city has $400,000  set aside in the capital budget and is asking the council to approve an additional $400,000 to cover the base bid.

"We're financing everybody else's facilities but when it comes to our own, we have to really start getting into our funds and not start eating at ourselves," said Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Council member.

Feeling they are getting their money worth, the council approved the funding. Despite only bringing in roughly $1 million in revenue each year, Roach said the Civic Center is worth the investment.

"To focus on the money the Civic Center generates ignores the other revenue it generates from the activity it supports within the community. For example, take Mardi Gras. I doubt we would have the Mardi Gras we have in Southwest Louisiana if we didn't have the Civic Center and you've seen the economic impact reports on what Mardi Gras means to the Civic Center," said Roach.

Crews plan to work around the Civic Center's scheduled events and expect to have the renovations done in a year.

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