$5 million in construction projects soon to start at James Brown Arena, Bell Auditorium

About $5 million in construction projects funded by the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority’s $22.1 million bond issue are getting started at James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium.

Contractor R.W. Allen received the go-ahead Feb. 10 to begin the projects, Josh Small, the facilities director for Global Spectrum, which manages the venues, said Tuesday.

Allen was the low bidder for the project and was selected through a process handled by architect Nick Dickinson, whom the authority selected last year to design the improvements, authority Chairman Cedric Johnson said at an authority board meeting Tuesday.

The remainder of the bond issue has gone toward construction of the new Trade, Exhibit and Event Center, which is nearly complete.

But unlike the TEE Center, the civic center and auditorium improvements weren’t fast-tracked, Johnson said.

“We’re not really on the fast track because we’re still having events here,” he said.

Johnson said he expected no price escalation or change orders as the project moves forward.

Global Spectrum will announce the name of a sponsor of one of the improvements, a VIP club lounge at James Brown Arena accessible by patrons who purchase memberships, at a special gathering before the Elton John concert next Tuesday, general manager Monty Jones said.

The club lounge and seating “will be a revenue generator for us,” Johnson said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Jones said the bulk of improvements needed to wait until the facilities’ slow time in the summer.

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