Feature Article - July/August 2002
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Mutli-Use and Multiple Users

Faciltiy Models that Work for the Masses

By Mitch Martin

The entertainer

Multi-use facilities are also providing a venue for the merging of recreational and entertainment event buildings.

A good example is the Gwinnett Civic & Cultural Center in Duluth, Ga., designed by Rosser International, Inc. The facility, now under construction and projected for a spring 2003 completion, has been designed with versatility and economy in mind.

The Gwinnett Civic & Cultural Center Expansion in Duluth, Ga.

The center was not conceived for recreational uses in the beginning, however, that changed when the area became the location of a new minor-league hockey team.

When completed, the Gwinnett Center will be suitable for ice hockey, theatre, concerts, large corporate meetings and trade shows.

Flexibility will be achieved in large measure by two design considerations: seating shape, and flexible curtains and riggings.

One end of the seating fans out, while another remains narrower. The facility will be able to hold events with seating as large as 36,000 or as small as 3,000.

The facility's roof structure is designed so curtains and other equipment is hung directly from the roof structure, for better design and construction savings (because less work and material is needed when roof structure and riggings are combined in the design).

A large moveable curtain system will slide up and down the arena, so the arena space can be tailored to the event.

"You don't want to have a situation where the audience is aware they're going to a concert that feels like a basketball arena," says Rosser's project architect George Bushey. "You don't want to have an arena that's too big for the act."

To that end, the Gwinnett Center won't have a center hung scoreboard, which also makes roof-hung riggings more practical. Instead, the facility will have scoreboard elements along the fascia of the seat stands and video boards at each end.

"It's still a level that would be comfortable for minor-league hockey or [NBA] developmental league basketball," Bushey says.

Designed flexibility really is key when it comes to multis, for the vast array of uses and users.