City leaders hold Gaillard dedication ceremony

VIDEO: City leaders hold Gaillard dedication ceremony

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After more than three years and nearly $142 million spent on renovations, Charleston's Gaillard center has reopened to the public.

City leaders held a dedication ceremony Friday night for the most expensive municipal project in Charleston history.

Mayor Joe Riley along with members of the City Council attended the dedication.

The city had an April 2015 completion date for the project, hoping it would be completed in time for the Spoleto Festival.

However, a few road bumps prevented the project to be finished on time.

It was also delayed so that builders could have more time to properly tune the performance center.

"It's absolutely gorgeous, it's stunning, it's so spacious," says Charleston resident, Wilson Gautreaux.

City leaders wanted just that when creating the Charleston Gaillard Center. It includes includes a exhibition hall, new city offices a performance hall and a ballroom.  

"We dedicate it to all of the citizens in the city of Charleston and in our region," says Mayor Riley.

Riley says this center is a place for building memories. It has spaces for events like wedding receptions, reunions and banquets.

"When you look at this building you look at the love that Joe Riley has for Charleston and all the people that he brought together to make this building for everyone," says Charleston resident, Sarah Jarner.

The public-private partnership project all began with a vision from Chairwoman of the Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation, Martha Rivers Ingram.

"You've produced something that's even better than we asked for. It's even more beautiful than we asked for, I think you'll feel that same way when you go inside," says Rivers Ingram.

Many people in Charleston are excited about what the center has to offer.

"We just came from this massive ballroom and I can just imagine all the conferences that can be held here," says  Gautreaux.

The mayor says he wants this center to be a part of children's lives in the area.

"We're making sure children's lives as they grow up in Charleston are part of this building... wonderful education initiatives[are] being developed."

The first public performance at the hall will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

"It's extremely exciting seeing the Gaillard now up to date...  current to represent the arts that actually exist here and that exist everywhere," says Charleston resident, Quentin Baxter.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is scheduled to be the performer of the evening for the opening public performance.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.