For over five decades, the Augusta Civic Center has hosted concerts, trade shows, weddings, basketball games, and gala events.

The millions who have walked through the doors over the decades have been entertained, educated, and formed business alliances.  It would be difficult to find a single person in Central Maine who has not been somehow touched by the building.

Even though the building was well designed and well constructed, time has taken its toll on the 50-year-old structure.

While we all love the civic center, anyone walking through the building will notice the wear and tear.  According to an article in the KJ, the building's roof is so leaky that buckets have to be placed at key spots to catch the drips.  Augusta Civic Center staffers say they often need to lead potential clients around buckets and caution tape.  Clearly, that is not a good look when you are trying to sell the benefits of booking the civic center.

The article explains that $2 million has already been set aside to repair the roof.

The roof is just a part of the problem, though.

The building is in need of systems upgrades and an aesthetic makeover.

It was recently estimated by Harriman Associates that it would take about $33 million to completely refurbish the civic center.  However, it was also estimated that that figure could jump to as much as $50 million if the building was updated to act as a natural disaster shelter.

One councilor reportedly suggested that a study be done to determine if, instead of updating the 50-year-old building, construction of a new building would be a better option.  While on the surface, it seems like a $33 million makeover is a much better deal than $100 million, there are concerns that the updates may uncover yet-to-be-discovered problems with the building.

At this point, no decision has been made about how the estimated $33 million needed for refurbishment would be secured.

What is your opinion?  What should be done with the Augusta Civic Center?

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