(Above) Construction of the BIG ARTS building progressing ahead of schedule. SC photo by Chuck Larsen Photography. (Below) Pouring slab under performance hall seating, top, and orchestra pit floor prepared for concrete placement.
(Above) Construction of the BIG ARTS building progressing ahead of schedule. SC photo by Chuck Larsen Photography. (Below) Pouring slab under performance hall seating, top, and orchestra pit floor prepared for concrete placement.

Construction of the new BIG ARTS facility is currently progressing two weeks ahead of schedule, according to observations on Thursday, May 2, by the engineering consulting firm Arnold/Sanders. The original building was razed a month ago and now the perimeter foundation walls of concrete masonry unit are substantially complete.

Concrete slabs on grade are being poured under the seating tiers and in the recessed orchestra pit, raise-able seating and stage extension of the future performance hall. Remaining a 410-seat “jewel box,” the performance hall will boast a larger stage and feature a hydraulic lift seat section for additional orchestra room and expanded stage space.

Construction progress includes the gallery portion of the building foundation filled close to grade with other areas lacking approximately two feet of fill dirt, which is being compacted as it is moved into place. Concrete masonry unit walled planter boxes on the west facade and at the east gallery have widened footing to prevent water from seeping down. Weep holes have also been installed to allow for water drainage from the planter boxes.

Electrical conduits are being installed northeast from the electrical room to the property line.

In the end, BIG ARTS will have more room for social gatherings, improved classrooms and an outdoor performance space. A broad driveway and well-lit walkways will provide easy access. The lobby will be a short walk down a corridor visually connecting the west parking lot to the interior garden plaza. There will be an artists’ gift shop, a bar for drinks before the show and an elevator to mezzanine seating.

Cost of the improved BIG ARTS home is $14 million with a target completion date in 2020.