Community groups banished from the Elgin Town Hall for seven months are set to enjoy the fruits of a £1.2million refurbishment of the popular venue.
Members of the Over-50s Dance Club are amongst the first to try out the new facilities, resuming their weekly gatherings that have taken place in the hall for 20 years.
After trying out the stage for club spokesman Dave Gurton said: “The town hall is looking very good – it is certainly much brighter and lighter than before.”
Energy efficiency has been a major target for the refurbishment with new windows, heating and lighting put in place. There was also upgrades to the plumbing, wiring and internal woodwork including the floor of the main hall.
The changes include the controversial addition of a £127,000 sound system that caused one local councillor to declare he was “flabbergasted” at the cost.
When the costs of the refurbishments were broken down in March this year Councillor Eric McGillivray, who had commissioned the old sound system 20 years earlier, said: “I was absolutely flabbergasted and I had to remind myself it was Elgin Town Hall and not the Albert Hall.”
Welcoming the dance club back to the Hall was Council Convener Stewart Cree, who from January 1 will switch roles to Council Leader.
Councillor Cree said: “The dancers are the first of the user groups to return to the town hall and they appear impressed with the improvements that have been made.
“The town hall has been Moray’s principal performance venue for more than 50 years and the investment that has been made will only enhance its reputation.”