SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Renovations are under way at Shreveport's historic Municipal Auditorium.
The city of Shreveport voted for the renovations, which come with a price tag of up to $4.7 million. "It's like an archeological dig out here" Mike McSwain, the architect on the Municipal, says.
"It represents one of those things that is a part of our unique authentic history and we need to be a part of preserving and enhancing and ultimately sharing with our citizens and the rest of the world," Shreveport Mayor, Cedric Glover, says.
"It's a piece of history, not everyone has the building that coined the phrase, Elvis has left the building" McSwain says.
They say they plan on leaving the original wood on the stage, but will be refinishing it. McSwain says because the building is so historic, it poses unique difficulties. "Most difficult is that it's a piece of history, and so we really don't want to screw it up and we tried to really treat it with kid gloves, really be sensitive to putting things back the way they were."
The upgrades also include making the building accessible for visitors with disabilities. That means a new big ramp to the floor. They also added elevators for guests and for the bands. Previously, bands had to move equipment in through the front doors.
The facelift also includes new seats, signs, windows, and most notably, air-conditioning. "The arena already had it, so the main floor already had it but no other space had AC in it. We are putting AC in all the public spaces, lobbies, the public corridors, the bathrooms, things like that," McSwain says.
A lot of the renovations are electrical. "I'm telling you, down stairs it is really dangerous, it's amazing it has been like this for so long but it's all getting fixed up to today's standards" McSwain says about the power system.
The renovated Municipal is tentatively set to re-open in April 2014.