Raise $25,000 in seed money to fund the “Set the Stage” Renovation project
Renovations will include the following:
Lobby, Back of House and Ticket Booth Renovations to improve efficiency of operations and prevent long waits by patrons to purchase/pick up tickets
Women’s Restroom Expansion
Renovations and Improvements to Sound Booth and System
Structural Repairs and Support for Main Stage and Proscenium; Stage Lighting/Infrastructure Improvements
Musician’s Loft Expansion and Safety Improvements
Office and Dressing Room Improvements on 2nd floor
Exterior Awning and Signage
By this time next year, Geauga Lyric Theater patrons can expect a much-improved visitor experience.
That is if all goes as planned with renovations to the facility at 101 Water St. in Chardon.
Executive Director Erika Hansen will present those plans from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 24 at the theater in order to allow interested parties to learn more about them and help bring them to fruition.
The proposal includes an estimated $200,000 in upgrades, ranging from better bathroom facilities to creating safer walkways in winter. City Council agreed in August to be the conduit for an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission economic development grant covering that cost.
“While we are extremely grateful for the state grant of $200,000, it is important to point out that we receive the funds on a reimbursement basis,” Hansen said. “We have to pay subcontractors and materials up front and then we get reimbursed.
“We also want to plan for the unplanned and be prepared for contingencies, especially in renovating an older building. We have therefore launched a capital campaign to raise seed money funds for the project. Our goal is to reach $25,000; we are currently one-fifth of the way there.”
The project builds on the long-standing partnership between Geauga Lyric Theater Guild and the city, she said. The Guild has a long-term lease for the facility, which is owned by the city.
Improvements are needed to bring the 1939 building up to basic standards for a venue of this type, Hansen said, noting that it pre-dates changes in environmental health and safety regulations, energy conservation and ADA requirements.
“There are no bathrooms backstage, and actors and technical crew need to walk around the outside of building — which has ice damming problems in winter — to access the restrooms in the lobby, which are shared with the public,” the grant application says. “The public has to wait in extremely long lines that significantly extend intermission. The current lobby is too small and inefficient relative to flow of patrons during performances. In addition, there is limited storage and workspace in order to mount multiple productions and arts events.”
The total project scope is as follows:
• Women’s restroom expansion, taking over the space that is currently a utility room with sink
• Electrical assessment, repair and maintenance to improve/increase theatrical production capacity
• Structural repairs and support for main stage and proscenium; stage lighting/infrastructure improvements
• Air seal the attic and increase the insulation to solve ice damming problems on east side of building
• Musician’s loft expansion and safety improvements
• Renovations/improvements to sound booth and system
• Lobby, back of house and ticket booth renovations to improve efficiency of operations and prevent long waits by patrons to purchase/pick up tickets
• Office and dressing room improvements on second floor
• Exterior awning and signage
• Fees, storage, cleaning, etc.
The projects are anticipated to increase GLTG’s ability to present a larger variety of plays and arts events, such as concerts. In addition, the renovated space will allow its use for arts education and theater classes, computer graphics, video production, lighting, set design and sound engineering.
“Our purpose in expanding our space is to also expand our operations such that the theater does not go ‘dark,’ as in our current season,” Hansen said. “Because there is no space to build sets, the theater’s stage currently goes dark between productions for set building to take place on the stage. With the addition of more efficient operations in our physical space at the theater and off-site set staging/storing of materials and set-building space, our expectation would be to be able to expand our programming with independent locally produced movie presentations, music performances and other entertainment offerings that will increase foot traffic and bring an increased economic impact to the Chardon Square area.”
The next steps are putting the project out to bid and beginning the permitting process.
“We anticipate starting construction after the Apollo’s Fire concert at the theater on June 10,” Hansen said. “Our summer workshops for elementary through high school students, ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Annie Jr.,’ will be held in Middlefield at Cardinal Middle School, thanks to a partnership with Middlefield Recreation Department. This will allow us to focus on the bulk of the renovations, especially the women’s restroom, over the summer. Remaining projects will be scheduled throughout the rest of the calendar year.”
GLTG has staged theatrical productions, community events and arts education offerings for more than 20 years. The Guild itself has been in existence for 64 years.
Last year, the theater served more than 600 students in classes, had hundreds of people involved in productions, and 15,000-plus patrons come through the doors, Hansen said. That was in addition to presenting 18 shows.
GLTG received a $200,000 appropriation from the State of Ohio for this project.
We need to be prepared for “contingencies” – as we know with construction, we need to plan for the unplanned
Some necessary costs associated with the project are not covered by the State grant so we need to cover them ourselves
Bill and Karen Blue
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Meg and Mel May
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Kevin & Nancy O'Reilly
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Justin Simons and Amy Bennett
Marilyn & Frederick Wilder
Tim and Elizabeth Golling
Curt and Norma Jerauld
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