Aquariums, iPads and flat screen televisions. Chandeliers and sculpted ceilings. Floor tiles arranged to make the shape of a giant butterfly. A skylight with colored glass in irregular shapes that seems to match the late Dorothy Gillespie’s aluminum sculptures ascending toward it.
There’s no question that more than $27 million in renovations has transformed Center in the Square.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, Center President and General Manager Jim Sears talked about how the days are gone for good when all a visitor saw in Center’s atrium were two volunteers seated at a desk.
“This project was a great labor of love,” said David Bandy , president of Roanoke architecture firm Spectrum Design, which designed the building. Flourishes such as allowing the science museum’s new butterfly garden to rise through the roof had to be balanced with conservation of historical features to meet requirements for tax credits, he said.
Center has less than two weeks to go until its May 18 grand reopening, with a preview Grand Affair gala scheduled for Saturday. Though on schedule and on budget, the project’s hectic pace to put on finishing touches has become more frantic than ever.