PORTLAND — The first of three phases of renovation to the Cumberland County Civic Center is on track to begin Aug. 1, with a still-evolving plan currently budgeted at $29.8 million in construction costs, down from an initial estimate of $35 million.

“A lot has changed in the last two weeks,” said Robert Frank of the architectural/engineering firm WBRC. “But we are right on target for where we need to be with schematic design. All the normal influencers of a fast-track project are in full effect.”

The Civic Center’s building committee met Tuesday morning with the architects, engineers and builders who will shepherd the project, scheduled to be completed by October 2013. The committee gave Cianbro Corp. the go-ahead for the $4.7 million Phase I, which deals with the loading dock and northeast corner of the structure.

Jon DiCentes, senior project manager for Cianbro, said he anticipates shutting down much of Center Street between Free and Spring Streets for eight weeks.

The trustees also hired a consultant to determine whether construction of a $2.5 million ‘Sky Club’ consisting of approximately 250 premium seats in a horseshoe-shaped ring near the rafters makes economic sense.

“The big question is, Can we sell it?” said Neal Pratt, chairman of the trustees. “If we can sell it, it’ll pay for itself very quickly.”

Last fall, voters approved a $33 million bond to fund the project. With approximately $5 million in “soft costs” such as professional fees, the current project remains over budget.

The committee plans to meet again June 6 to decide on potential further cuts or inclusions.