A brief history of The Classic Center, northeast Georgia’s premier convention center and performing arts theatre:
  • 1912 - The Fire Hall Number 1 is built to serve as the city's main station and central meeting place.
  • 1987 - Civic Center Study Committee is created to examine what type of public assembly facility best serves the community. It recommends an 18,000 square-foot ballroom, 28,000 square-foot exhibit hall, 2,000-seat theatre and the creation of an authority to oversee the operation, which all pass in a SPLOST referendum.
  • 1988 - The Georgia General Assembly passes a bill creating The Classic Center Authority. Architect James Polsheck is hired. The design calls for the Fire Hall's demolition, which the community rejects.
  • 1990-1993 - The Authority hires Rabin Hogan Hatch and Oshee to revise the drawings to save the Fire Hall and include a larger Theatre and exhibit space.
  • 1994 - Construction begins.
  • 1995 - Executive director Paul Cramer is hired. The 1st phase opens.
  • 1996 - The Theatre opens with the Broadway musical "Cats."
  • 1999 - Voters approve SPLOST Package Number 5 which includes a parking facility and the 130 Foundry facility.
  • 2002 - The parking facility and 130 Foundry are completed.
  • 2004 - Citizens approve SPLOST Number 6 to construct the 130 Foundry lower level and a connection to 300 North Thomas Street.
  • 2006 - 130 Foundry and connection are completed.
  • 2010 - Voters approve SPLOST Number 7 to expand exhibit space to 56,000 square feet and build an 8,000 square-foot atrium.
  • 2013 - Expansion is completed.
The Classic Center shines on today as a sign of what a motivated community effort can accomplish when working together. The Classic Center is a special events and convention center that truly belongs to the people of Athens and north Georgia!
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