The Charleston Civic Center is a municipal complex located in the downtown area of Charleston. Originally completed in 1959, the Charleston Civic Center has undergone numerous renovations and expansions since its opening day. The Charleston Civic Center currently consists of three main components: the Civic Center Coliseum, the Little Theater, and the Charleston Convention Center, also referred to as the Grand Hall. The Civic Center is at the helm of many activities and events that happen in the Charleston area.
The Charleston Civic Center is a venue for a number of annual events and fairs throughout the year. Among the events includes the Annual West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show, West Virginia Association of Fairs & Festivals Conference, West Virginia International Auto Show, West Virginia Sports Show, the Taste of Charleston, and the Capital City Arts & Crafts Fair. Several local high schools hold their proms and graduation ceremonies at the Civic Center as well. The Civic Center Coliseum hosts the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the annual West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament, West Virginia State High School Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments, music concerts, professional wrestling, and basketball games between in-state rivals West Virginia University and Marshall University. West Virginia State University also holds its commencement ceremonies in the Coliseum. The Charleston Light Opera Guild conducts performances in the Little Theater throughout the year too.
Constructed in 1958 thanks to series of general obligation bonds that was approved years earlier by city voters for the creation of a civic center in the downtown area of Charleston, the original Civic Center opened in January 1959 at the cost of $2.5 million. It consisted of a 6,000-seat arena and the 750-seat "Little Theater." The Civic Center then underwent its first renovation and expansion in 1964 when 2,400 additional seats were added to the arena and a paved parking lot and an ice rink were added to the facilities. The most significant renovation and expansion took place in 1976, when city officials planned to erect a 13,000-seat coliseum, a two story lobby that connected the new coliseum with the original arena and theater, and remodel the original arena into a convention center. Since then two parking garages have been added and minor updates have been made to the Grand Hall and Little Theater. The Charleston Civic Center is one of the busiest places throughout the year, and if you are in Charleston long enough, you will find yourself attending one of its many events.