CHARLESTON, W.Va. — City of Charleston leaders say they’ll continue to gather information and ask questions regarding the fate of the closed Charleston Municipal Auditorium.

Adam Krason

An engineering report released by ZMM Architects and Engineers last week showed the 85-year-old building is in need of major improvements. The city has two options: fully renovate the facility for $25.4 million or tear it down and build a new one for around the same price of $25.2 million.

Adam Krason, architect and principal at ZMM, said there’s a lot to be considered no matter what the city decides to do.

“You need to look at the life safety. You need to look at accessibility. You need to look at all of those issues and operationally. What are people expecting when they attend a theater now? What are performers expecting when they book venues?” Krason said during a discussion on Tuesday’s “580 Live” with Dave Allen heard on 580-WCHS.

Krason said the building is in poor condition and is not safe to continue operations.

“Some of the brick is actually falling off the building,” he said. “The second thing we noticed was the electrical service. When our electrical engineer through to do an inspection, the electrical service was actually sitting in a puddle of water.”

Matt Sutton

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced a temporary closure of the Municipal Auditorium in February and the postponement of all events at the facility.

Krason said in addition to plumbing, mechanical and electrical issues, the theater is also not very accessible.

“There are seats in that theater that they can only use when they have a comedy act when you have one performer at the front of the stage because you can’t see the entire stage from the seats. You don’t have good access even if you build an addition — access to the concession areas, changing rooms, these sort of things, so I think you need to look at it in the big picture,” he said.

Goodwin’s chief of staff Matt Sutton said the city wants to take into consideration the history of downtown Charleston and new nearby facilities like the Capitol Sports Center that will be built in the future.

“We have to think about what the aesthetics of what downtown is going to be in the next 30-40 years and look to make sure that that fits in as well,” Sutton said. “We’re not just going to put up a big box that’s going to sit in the middle of our city, but it also has to fit in it what’s going to be around us.”

Sutton said there are lot of performers that seek smaller venues like the Municipal Auditorium He said there is a specific need for this kind of venue size downtown.

“We have the Culture Center which can do about 500 people. We have the Clay Center which can do about 1,800. We have the theater over at the Coliseum which can do about 800-900. We have the Coliseum which can get anywhere from 5,000-10,000 people. What we don’t have currently is that 3,000-5,000 venue which is one of the hottest attractions that we can have,” he said.

The city plans to meet again with members of a special committee of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Board sometime this month.