Major changes coming to the Julian Smith Casino

Thursday, March 14, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Julian Smith Casino is so much more than just a voting precinct. The city has a pretty good idea of what they want to do with it but they also want to make sure they get your thoughts, too, so that the space grows along with Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Whether it's the birds chirping or the lake view, it's easy to see why Julian Smith Casino is the city's most rented space.

"Those are two of our most popular rental facilities, the casino, and the BBQ pit," said Glenn Parker, with the Augusta Parks and Recreation Department.

Booked at least 45 weekends of the year, the casino has taken on some wear over the years. Now, it's time for some upgrades.

"Those buildings are old. There haven’t been any major upgrades to the building in a number of years,” said Parker.

From new sound and lighting systems to bridal party changing rooms, to new ADA compliant restrooms, the goal is to cater to everyone.

"A lot of our buildings were built prior to today's ADA requirements so we're going back and renovating our building. We're looking at all of the ADA code, the current code for the building, electrical, the windows," said Parker.

While the plans have been in the works prior to Lake Olmstead being redeveloped as an amphitheater, developers are jumping on that opportunity to serve audiences there, too.

“We wanna keep in mind that there could be a lot of overflow so people could be using the restroom while they’re waiting to go to a concert,” said Parker.

But no matter what brings you to Lake Olmstead or Julian Smith, leaders want to make sure your experience is memorable.

The next steps are to fine tune the plans; present them to the commission; open up the project bid process and then start construction. They want this started by the end of this year.

Right now, they have 1.4 million in SPLOST funds for this project, but until they fine tune it, they won't know exactly how much they're looking at.