- Kristina Webb Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A multimillion-dollar renovation is underway to bring new life to Royal Palm Beach’s Cultural Center.
The facility, built in 1993, will expand inside and out, with 4,400 more square feet inside for events and a new parking lot.
The $3.5 million project is part of Royal Palm Beach’s strategic plan and received the final OK from the village council earlier this year. “That is our largest project for this year,” Village Manager Ray Liggins said.
Perhaps the biggest change inside will be the center’s auditorium. Now a dual-level floor, the space will expand to seat about 100 more people, bringing the total to 300. Liggins said having the upper level on the floor was hampering the village’s ability to host larger events. “And the handicap accessibility to that upper level was difficult,” he added.
Four rooms will be added to the back of the main hall, including two meeting rooms, a second kitchen and more restrooms so the facility can host two wedding receptions at once, or one large reception, Liggins said. It also will allow several smaller events to use the meeting rooms at the same time.
The front lobby will be transformed into a hotel-inspired entrance. “It will be more like a convention center or a business center,” Liggins said. “We’re doing some finishes that have that kind of four-star quality.”
With the Cultural Center closed while the work is done and set to reopen by the end of 2018, community groups that use it have been moved to other village facilities. The Royal Palm Beach Community Band is among those groups. Until the center reopens, the band’s performances — including its free holiday concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday — will be in the cafeteria at Crestwood Middle School.
Other local organizations that have used the Cultural Center include King’s Academy, the Young at Heart senior-citizen group, and arts and crafts programs.
The village held public workshops to hear what residents wanted to see as part of the renovations. Mayor Fred Pinto said it was a resident who suggested opening up the auditorium floor.
“There are a lot of nonprofits that use it,” he said. “We needed to get their input.”
In addition to having more space, the carpeting, lighting, audio-visual equipment and air conditioning system also will be updated. The outside will get a fresh coat of paint, and security cameras will be installed around the building.
Most of the work on the facility will happen on its south side, which already is bustling, with a large hole knocked into the building’s wall and crews moving around the job site. But more work will happen to the northeast, where a new parking lot with 45 spaces will be added. “Right now the parking is a little inconvenient,” Liggins said.
The work is being done by Wellington-based ANATOM Construction, the same company that recently completed Royal Palm Beach’s new stage and bathrooms at Commons Park.