For years this destination attraction has been a cultural hub in the Roanoke Valley.
Roanoke, Va. - Center in the Square will unveil its extraordinary $30 million renovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Ultimate Family Day of Discovery event on May 18, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The now seven-story, 200,000-square-foot cultural complex, located in the heart of downtown Roanoke, has been completely renovated during a period of 19 months while the resident organizations moved out to temporary locations. Among updated features, the facility boasts a transformed rooftop area featuring a magnificent open-air, green environment with gardens, a koi pond, a party facility, an overlook deck, and energy-saving technologies. The fifth floor is home to a beautiful butterfly habitat and on the ground floor atrium are an impressive 6,000-gallon living coral reef, saltwater aquarium and two 500-gallon moon jellyfish aquariums, joined by a seahorse estuary.
Center in the Square houses four independent cultural organizations - the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the History Museum of Western Virginia, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, and Mill Mountain Theatre. Since opening in 1983, more than nine million people have visited Center in the Square with multiple generations having been impacted by each organization's programs, performances and presentations. The renewed facility looks to build upon its success with this upgraded facility that features a cultural bonanza that will educate and delight patrons of all ages.
Eco-friendly improvements at Center in the Square led to the facility's registration with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System. Green work at the facility includes the installation of photovoltaic arrays on the roof. The electricity generated by these solar panels will reduce the amount of power that the facility takes from the power grid. A water reclamation system also has been installed.
"Center in the Square must meet the challenge of remaining culturally and artistically relevant for future generations," said James C. Sears, Ed.D, President and General Manager of Center in the Square. "Part of this continued relevance directly relates to energy consumption and generation. When we took time to consider our antiquated, outdated heating and cooling systems, we knew we had to drastically change our modus operandi and build new, state-of-the-art systems that would allow us to be responsible stewards of the environment and inspire others to be so as well."
Sears went on to say, "We also knew that in order to uphold our mission of ensuring the health of our beneficiary organizations, we had to provide innovative new exhibit space, marketing tools and centralized ticketing that would enable us to maximize crucial operating dollars, engage new patrons and provide STEM-focused, hands-on learning opportunities for the region's K-12 students. We are rebuilding Center in the Square for you, your children and your grandchildren, and to make the Roanoke Valley a destination for employers, tourists and students."