As work continues on Lawrenceville’s Southlawn project, city officials are preparing to simultaneously expand amenities at the neighboring Lawrenceville Lawn.
The City Council approved a $1.5 million contract with Bayne Development Group LLC to handle construction of a new amphitheater stage and expanded parking area. Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2020 with plans to hold a grand opening at next summer’s Prelude to the Fourth event.
“This amphitheater will kind of be a connection point, both in aesthetics as well as what we’re delivering for the aspect of dynamic community engagement,” Lawrenceville Director of Economic Development Lisa Sherman said.
“It will bring together the classic brick look that the Southlawn has enveloped with its design and build as well as the granite features that you see today in the Lawrenceville Lawn park, and blend those together in this centralized structure that will serve as a hosting site for all Lawrenceville and the greater Gwinnett community.”
Lawrenceville did save some money on the amphitheater project. The city had budgeted $1.8 million for construction earlier this year, but when the bids came in, they ended up being lower.
Sherman said the amphitheater is part of a long term vision to create a walkable gathering space for residents in the city’s downtown district.
“The Lawrenceville Lawn opened in 2014 and this is just the next phase of that,” Lisa Sherman said. “This amphitheater will connect the residential development of Southlawn to the Lawrencville Lawn park, so there will be a walkability component to this whole next phase.”
The city has had a stage for concerts at the lawn in the past, but it was a temporary structure brought in for special events. The amphitheater will be a permanent 40-by-60 covered stage for performers.
Sherman said it will have two stages: a main stage facing the Lawrenceville Lawn for big events and a back stage facing the Southlawn development for less elaborate activities.
“(The backstage) will be smaller types of events or programs where you’re not catering to the big, vast eight-acre greenspace, but you might be catering to a smaller crowd,” Sherman said.
“We’ll be able to host some smaller events on that backside and there’s some turf that will be installed right up near that backstage area that will allow people to bring their blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy smaller performances.”
City documents show the stage will have classic brick and granite finishes. Twelve addition restroom facilities, a VIP seating area and a loading dock.
Although the additional restrooms may not be as glamorous as the new stages provided by the amphitheater, Sherman said they are important for visitors to the park space.
The Lawrenceville Lawn currently has two family bathrooms where parents who have young children can take their kids for restroom breaks. The additional restroom areas will include seven new women’s restrooms and five new men’s restrooms.
An additional public parking area, with about 70 spaces, is shown next to the stage in a site plan presented to the City Council on Wednesday as well.
“We’ve got the retail going in there on Clayton Street with the onset of Southlawn and its going to need some additional public parking so the driveway coming down into the backstage of the (amphitheater) will also have a public parking component that will be available everyday for residents and visitors,” according to Sherman.
“Then for events, it will also be an open space that we can use to house all of the sound equipment and different things that we still need to bring in to do an event.”
The projection, weather pending of course, is that construction should take about five-and-a-half months to complete. Work is expected to be finished in early June in preparation for the Prelude To The Fourth and grand opening event on July 3, 2020.
“It will just allow us to do a lot more than what we have been doing with a portable stage so we’re excited about it,” Sherman said.