Wolverhampton Civic Hall works enter final leg

New images from inside Wolverhampton’s iconic Civic Halls have shown how work is progressing as its redevelopment enters the final leg.

Inside the Civic Hall
Inside the Civic Hall

It comes after six years of closure and a catalogue of delays, with refurbishment costs now in excess of £40 million.

But contractors Willmott Dixon are now entering the closing months of the complex construction programme on the 84-year-old, grade II-listed building before handing over the improved venue to world-leading operator and concert promoter, AEG Presents, later this year.

Inside the Civic Hall

AEG Presents will then commence the internal fit out to the front of house bars, kitchen and sound and lights systems, as it prepares to open the halls to the public.

Major supporting steel works and new toilet areas across three levels have been completed in the Civic and Wulfrun Halls, with flooring, wall finishes, the installation of doors and advanced mechanical and electrical works under way in many parts of the building.

The new spectator balconies in both halls and many of the ceilings are now also in place.

Inside the Civic Hall

Works to improve the environment on the streets outside the Civic Halls are on course to be completed by contractors Eurovia in the autumn of this year, and will create quality space for the public, enhancing the experience for visitors to the venue when it reopens.

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Wolverhampton Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for city economy, said: “The council has demonstrated bold and ambitious thinking to take this very challenging project on and because of our efforts we have landed a 25-year lease with a world-class operator in AEG Presents.

Inside the Wulfrun Hall

“After overcoming the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, works are progressing at pace now as we look forward to handing over the reins to AEG Presents in the coming months.

“Their passion for the iconic halls and ambition for the future matches our own and this partnership will not only deliver an outstanding venue with top-class entertainment for generations to come – it will be a keystone of our wider plans to reimagine the city centre, to create local jobs and grow vital local businesses.”

The completion of works inside the halls will see the height above the stage to the rear of the Civic Hall increased to attract bigger and better shows.

Overall, visitors will enjoy more comfortable seats, more bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors (including enhanced wheelchair access), a greater number of accessible viewing points and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.

Since the venue closed for improvements in December 2015, the project has been plagued by a series of major setbacks including the discovery of asbestos inside the building and the original contractor going bust.

The cost was originally supposed to be around £10 million and the venue was due to be reopened in November 2016.

However, work ground to a halt after structural problems with the venue were found to be far worse than first thought.

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