The Daphne Civic Center is a multipurpose convention and performing arts center located in Daphne, Alabama, United States (a suburb of Mobile). The Center features 11,931 square feet (1,108 m2) of exhibit and meeting space in the main exhibit hall, which also features a 37-by-70-foot permanent stage. For concerts, the exhibit hall can seat 1,700; for banquets, 900; receptions, 1,247; and in a classroom setup, 676. The exhibit hall's arched roof rises up to 24 feet (7 m).
There are five meeting rooms totaling 4,683 square feet (435 m2), plus a circular, 4,900-square-foot (460 m2) lobby. The lobby is where the Civic Center's concession stands and restrooms are located.
First proposed in April 1996 at an estimated cost of $4.2 million, plans to borrow money to build the Daphne Civic Center were approved in May 1997 with a $4.5 million budget attached. Upon completion, the center ultimately cost $6 million to construct and equip.
Scheduled for completion in September 1999, the center opened to the public on December 2, 1999 for Christmas by the Bay, the Baldwin County Humane Society's annual holiday fund-raiser. The building's formal grand opening ceremony was held in January 2000.
The Daphne Civic Center hosts a variety of recurring and special events. It is the site of the annual Gulf Coast Zydeco Music Festival. In February 2008, the center drew media attention when it hosted a Mardi Gras ball then twelve hours later was ready to open as a voting center for Alabama's primary elections.
- Cox, Damon (1996-04-24). "Officials consider Daphne civic center; Some council members ready to go ahead with project, others concerned". Mobile Press-Register.
Daphne City Council members took a second look this week at borrowing $4.2 million to build a new civic center, but questions remain and opinions vary about whether now is the best time to take on the project.
- Cox, Damon (1997-05-24). "Daphne officials approve plans for civic center". Mobile Press-Register.
The Daphne City Council has approved plans to build a $4.5 million civic center and recreation facility on U.S. 98 by early 1999, Mayor Harry Brown said.
- Pacey, Lesley (2000-01-11). "Civic Center use: Collins wants cost study". Mobile Press-Register. p. 11.
With the paint still fresh on the city's new $6 million Civic Center, Daphne leaders are being inundated with requests from organizations who want to use the facility for free.
- Pacey, Lesley Farrey (1999-04-12). "Daphne Mayor Harry Brown said he supports the construction of a civic center because he wants Daphne citizens to enjoy the same amenities residents of other cities enjoy". Mobile Press-Register.
The Daphne Civic Center is slated for completion by September. Its doors won't open, however, until the equipment and furniture are installed and the landscaping is finished.
- Pacey, Lesley (1999-12-03). "Down to the wire". Mobile Press-Register. p. 11.
When the new Daphne Civic Center's doors opened Thursday night for the "Christmas by the Bay" preview party, visitors could hardly tell that construction crews had been there only hours earlier. The only hints that the building was a work in progress were the faint smell of fresh paint, a few door knobs and glass plates.
- Pacey, Lesley (1999-12-01). "Daphne to show off Civic Center with Christmas by the Bay event". Mobile Press-Register. p. 4.
Holiday fund-raiser will christen the much-anticipated public facility; formal grand opening will be in January
- "How to get here". Gulf Coast Zydeco Music & Crawfish Festival. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- "Daphne Civic Center hosts Mardi Gras Ball, then opens as a voting center less than 12 hours later". WPMI-TV. 2008-02-04.