AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Since 1978, people have come out to both the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium to see their favorite concerts and performances. Since then, there have been too many shows to count. They've taken a toll on the venues and repairs must be made.
"As you do more shows those needs magnify," says General Manager Chris Bird.
Bird says the $1.5 million passed by Augusta Commissioners will be spent to upgrade the venues. Starting with the James Brown Arena; first up will be replacing what Bird calls the "show power" which controls the lights on the stage. They'll also replace the entire elevator system. Those parts aren't made anymore, so technicians have to go to the junk yard to replace them. Inside the Bell Auditorium, they've had the same carpet since the 1980's; it needs to go.
And the list goes on for both: bathrooms, sound systems, even the roof of the box office needs to be replaced.
Bird says the past two years have been the best financial years for the venues since 1978. But despite the gains, the limited size of the arena caused Augusta to miss out on huge moneymakers. "We couldn't host the circus because the rigging in the James Brown Arena couldn't hold the weight of that production."
Now, Bird has high hopes the $1.5 million will maintain and improve the customer experience until there's a new arena. "This community deserves a larger, new facility that this couldn't provide if you renovate it."