Robinson Center Renovations and Additions
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock Visitors and Convention Bureau
CDI-Hunt Robinson Joint Venture managed this major renovation, expansion and addition that included demolition of the interior down to the brick shell of the 76-year-old performing arts facility. Renovations included a new 2,600-seat proscenium theater and balcony, orchestra pit, back-of-house areas, dressing rooms, loading dock, and restored Art Deco lobby and exterior façade. The new addition on the north and west sides of the existing building includes a 15,000 SF exhibition hall, conference facilities, meeting rooms, offices, and associated service and utility functions.
As one might imagine, renovating the 1939 vintage Robinson Auditorium was no simple task. Our project team was faced with the daunting challenge of removing over 90% of the interior structure while leaving the exterior shell intact. To complete the project on schedule, getting started on time was imperative, which meant mechanical and electrical make safe along with certain portions of the exterior demolition had to begin before the final GMP was established. The preconstruction process revealed that to hit specific steel mill rolling dates for the necessary shapes, an early mill order would need to be released. We also discovered significant dimensional constraints on the space under the historic lobby and entry stairs designated to house large air handling equipment. Because this equipment would only fit in the space before the balcony steel was installed, early release of four major pieces of air handling equipment was necessary. All these decisions had to be made before the final GMP was established. At the time we were released to make these early commitments, we had identified $2.5 million in cost-reducing strategies. We were able to achieve these savings and ultimately executed the $61 million GMP that was within the owner’s available funds.