Brannon Civic Center Showcases the City
By Carl Kotala
With curves on both sides, a ballroom roof that slants in two directions and an extended outdoor terrace that will provide spectacular views of the Indian River, the new Brannon Civic Center in New Smyrna Beach presented some unique challenges to W&J Construction of Rockledge.
But that’s what made the project so much fun. “That ballroom and the view to the river is pretty immaculate. It’s nice,” said Project Manager Carl McNutt. “The design of the building is … it’s the kind of building you get in the industry for. It’s a challenge. It’s different. It’s not just a box.”
The 14,000 sq. ft. building, which cost $5.7 million to complete, is expected to open sometime early this fall.
Designed by RLF Architects in Orlando, the updated facility replaces the 50-year-old civic center, which was located at the same spot near the end of Canal Street. The location gives visitors a chance to see what’s going on at nearby Riverside Park while also having a chance to indulge in some local shopping.
River View Like Never Before
The real selling point, though, will be the view of the river. In fact, the new building was pushed some 200 feet closer to the water. “…in the old building, you didn’t even know you were on the river. There were no river views,” said Michelle Vallance, Capital Projects Manager for the city. “This really takes advantage of the location by moving the building close to the river and making the whole eastern edge essentially open windows.”
With 25-foot high glass on the east side of the building, there won’t be a bad view to be found. There is also a sophisticated lighting control and HVAC system. “Roller shades on the windows are controlled by a sensor on the roof,” said McNutt. “If it gets sunny out, the shades will [automatically] close and then open if it gets cloudy.”
Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget
McNutt credits Project Superintendent Brian Seli with helping get the project done well ahead of the contracted due date, adding that the partnership developed between W&J and city staff also helped generate substantial savings for the cost of the building: roughly $80,000 in savings resulted from having the city purchase the building materials.
Administrative offices will be located on the west side of the building while a 6,500 sq. ft. grand ballroom on the east side will be able to accommodate more than 600 people. While that should make the center popular for weddings, there will also be other events hosted by local organizations such as the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, the Marine Discovery Center and the Charity Ball for the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
With part of the 7,500 square-foot terrace overlooking Riverview Park, there is even a spot for bands to set up and provide entertainment to visitors. The terrace should also make an extra-special event out of next year’s Fourth of July fireworks display on the river.
Weddings, Events and Hi-Brow Functions
The city has already started getting booking requests for the new facility and expects the facility to be busy nearly every weekend throughout the year.
“Business was pretty steady in the old facility,” Vallance said. “This will just bring those existing events back and then some. What was lacking in the former building was the Monday through Thursday event, during business hours – [such as] conferences and formal settings. The city didn’t really have that high-end place that some of those type of events require. We’re hoping some of that comes this way as well.”