Work begins on $142 million Charleston arts center

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Charleston is breaking ground on a $142 million makeover of the city's Gaillard Municipal Auditorium to create what city officials say will be a world class performing arts center.

Ceremonies are scheduled for Tuesday to mark the start of work on the project. The Gaillard is a key venue for the internationally known Spoleto Festival USA.

The public-private plan calls for reducing the number of seats in the auditorium from 2,700 to 1,800. The existing exhibition hall will be renovated and city offices will be added on one side of the facility to be known as the Gaillard Center.