Wolverhampton Council has revealed the first artist’s impressions of the new-look
Revised designs for the major refurbishment of the Grade II listed venue were granted planning approval in May as new structural findings during the preliminary works were addressed.
The changes are in keeping with the original refurbishment proposals but instead of the initially proposed U shape, the new Civic Hall balcony will now be contained at the rear of the hall, with the added benefit of an improved view of the stage for more customers.
A new glass-covered bar area will also be installed above the main entrance of the Civic Hall, servicing the new upper level.
The Civic Hall capacity will raise by 539 seats to a total of 2,554, with the standing capacity increasing to 3,549.
The Wulfrun Hall will also get a balcony, increasing its seating capacity by 230 to 862, while the new standing capacity will be 1,340.
The refurbished Civic Halls will be able to cater for almost 5,000 people in total and will offer improved hospitality areas.
Enabling works are expected to continue until September 1, with a contractor to be appointed in time for the main works to start in January 2017 and complete in March 2018.
The project will safeguard 637 jobs in the wider economy and it is anticipated to attract an additional 330,000 visitors a year, resulting in a further 120 direct and indirect jobs.
Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "The Civic Halls have been around since the 1930s and are an important part of our visitor economy – providing jobs and generating millions of pounds every year by staging nationally acclaimed shows.
"As part of our regeneration plans for the city we recognised this Grade II listed building is in need of refurbishment, as well as improvement to ensure it remains a thriving venue to be proud of.
"The increased capacity of the Civic Halls will make it a more attractive place in the entertainment market, enabling it to attract significantly more popular and prestigious acts, while retaining the current characteristics that make it popular with performers, producers and audiences.
"The importance of its contribution to the visitor economy was recently highlighted by Wolverhampton making the top ten in a major survey of the best live music scenes in the UK.”
The improvements will enable the Civic Halls to develop a partnership with City of Wolverhampton College to deliver BTEC performing arts courses – with a target of 2,500 learners coming through the doors, resulting in the creation of 100 jobs and apprenticeships.
During this time, the council will also provide assistance to 250 local businesses, including the use of spaces at the Civic Halls.
The improvement programme will cost £14.4 million and will be part funded by a £6.6 million Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal grant.
The revised costs also include an extra £2.6 million, which will be covered by additional net income generated from the refurbished Civic Halls over 25 years.
Both venues will reopen in time to accommodate the Grand Slam of Darts and other events in November and December 2017. The Civic Hall will close for its final facelift for the first three months of 2018, fully opening just in time to celebrate its 80th birthday.
For full details of all events at the Civic Halls from September to December 2016, and to buy tickets visit www.wolvescivic.co.uk
1/ Main image: Civic Hall new-look exterior showcasing the new glass-covered bar area above the main entrance.
2/ Civic Hall new-look interior showcasing the new upper level balcony:
3/ Wulfrun Hall new-look interior showcasing the new balcony: