The first phase of a renovation project at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre of the Arts is underway.
Over the next two years, workers will add a raised ceiling, revamp the sound system, install new lighting and make other improvements at the performance venue on South Brooks Street, near downtown.
“It will allow us to expand our programming and bring in more high-quality talent,” said Cathy Gouge, manager of the center. “The venue will serve not only Wake Forest, but the surrounding communities.”
The center is closed through January and will reopen in February. During the closure, crews will connect the arts annex to the grand hall and put new carpet in the classrooms, Gouge said.
It will close again next December for bigger upgrades, including an extended stage and new dressing rooms. Gouge said she hopes to reopen in 2018 after the renovations are complete.
The Renaissance Centre, which spans more than 5,000 square feet and can seat more than 250 people, opened in 2013. Its debut came nearly a decade after Wake Forest leaders adopted the Renaissance Plan in 2004, partly in an effort to revive the downtown area.
The center now hosts regular events, including concerts, theater productions and movie screenings. It is also available to rent for weddings, parties, business meetings or other purposes.
Renovations are expected to cost $1 million. The project is funded in part by a matching grant of $348,530 the town received in November from the Wake County Board of Commissioners. That money comes from the county’s food and hotel-occupancy tax revenues, which county officials award periodically to projects intended to boost tourism.
Wake Forest’s portion of the cost is $647,270.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler