PORTLAND — A Cumberland County Civic Center task force unanimously recommended a $27 million to $29 million renovation for the aging arena this morning.

After reviewing a report by consultants, the task force backed a project that would add loge boxes and club seats to the 6,700-seat arena, upgrade concession offerings and restrooms and enhance backstage facilities and amenities for touring acts.

The report by the consultants, Brailsford and Dunlavey and The Goldwater Group, suggested the renovation plan that was the middle, cost-wise, of three scenarios that were examined. A low-end approach that addressed mostly “back-of-the-house” deficiencies would have cost about $3 million less, while a more expansive approach, which would have included adding more seats to the arena, would have added about $5 million to the price tag of the recommended option.

The vote to approve the proposal was 4-0, with representatives of the Portland Pirates – the facility’s prime tenant – the city of Portland, Cumberland County and the Civic Center board each having a vote.

Neal Pratt, the panel’s chairman, said the proposal will go next to the Civic Center’s board. If it also approves of the plan, more detailed cost estimates will be developed and a financing plan prepared. It’s expected that the majority of the cost would come from a county bond, which would have to be approved by voters next November.

Members of the task force agreed with the report’s finding that, without improvements, the Civic Center would face declining interest from touring groups and lost revenue, perhaps leading to operating deficits.

11:51 a.m.

PORTLAND — Consultants hired by a Cumberland County Civic Center task force looking at renovating the aging arena are recommending a $27 million to $29 million rehabilitation that will add premium seating, concession upgrades and improvements to backstage spaces.

The report, released this morning and prepared by the firms Brailsford & Dunlavey and The Goldwater Group, recommends the mid-cost package among three renovation scenarios the consultants studies. The low-end upgrade, with mostly backstage and support area improvements, comes with an estimated price tag of $24 million to $26 million, while a more extensive project, including additional seats, would cost between $32 million and $34 million, consultants said.

The task force, meeting this morning, is expected to recommend the mid-range proposal to the full Cumberland County Civic Center board of trustees. If the board agrees, voters are likely to be asked to approve a bond to pay for the renovation next year. The nearly 200-page report from the consultants says that Portland remains a strong market for touring entertainment acts and the Civic Center is considered a desirable venue, but “operational inadequacies and limitations” are becoming a bigger obstacle to remaining an attractive stop.

The consultants also said that arenas in nearby cities such as Manchester, N.H., and Lowell, Mass., are more competitive with the Civic Center because of better “back-of-the-house” amenities and the Portland Pirates – a minor league hockey team that is the center’s primary tenant – lack revenue sources common in other arenas, such as premium seating and enhanced concession offerings.

Without upgrades, the consultants said, the Civic Center will likely start shedding events, losing 10 – and $450,000 in revenues – by 2016.

A renovation, however, will – in addition to enhancing the guest experience – increase operating income by about $1.6 million a year for the preferred upgrade scenario, the consultants said.