Last week, I went to a high school graduation at the renovated Cumberland County Civic Center. The civic center designers and staff left me very impressed.It was the first event I've attended since the renovations last winter. I had been invited to take a tour right after the CCCC re-opened a couple months ago, so I kind of got what the renovations would bring about. The civic center renovations were several years in the making and could lead to a resurgence of future concert events, the return of the Portland Pirates and other happenings.

What I experienced was even better:  Working for CYY, I was listening for microphones going dead, lighting being less than stellar, and the acoustics to be OK, not great.

Robert Cook

There were six to eight mics in use, from the opening remarks, through segments by singers and the school band, and the announcement of all the graduates' names - all mics worked flawlessly; the lighting was exactly right for snapping a ton of pictures with phones, miniscule digital cameras and professionally shot pictures of the graduates; and you could hear every word spoken or sung, even slightly angled as I was away from the speakers.

One other really important impression I had was seeing people being able to easily enter with, and  also sit with their family members who were in wheelchairs. The civic center redesigned the entrances so it's easier for anyone to get in--those steps going up on the Spring Street side, and going down on Free Street--all go straight in.  Then, once inside, there are special, wide platforms overlooking the seated areas, where someone in a wheelchair or on crutches can go straight onto the platform.  I think I counted six such platforms around the arena.

Robert Cook

If you get to go to an event at the Civic Center, I think you, too, will enjoy the show better.

Really superb.

What do you think about the new and improved Cumberland County Civic Center? Share your thoughts here on our web site and on our Facebook and Twitter pages with the hashtag #NewCCCC.