April 5, 2012. A model within the $4.2 million proposed refurbishing budget was presented to the old Appalachian Twin Theatre Committee on Thursday morning. It’s much different and cheaper than the original concept that featured a five-story building that financial consultants said would be too expensive.
The model will feature about 600 seats, including 250 in the balcony. The old theatre featured 999 seats. The reason for less seats is because average seat sizes have grown larger as the population grows heavier.
Frank Mohler, who presented and designed the model, said that the drawing comes with a number of disclaimers. “It’s a concept drawing, not an architectural drawing,” he said.
He added that once an architects, fire marshalls, engineers, users and others have input, the design will “probably change a great deal.”
“It’s feasible with our limited budget. Hopefully we’ll add some things, maybe delete some things,” Mohler said, adding that this model will allow the financial consultants something to show potential donors. “Now they can say, ‘This will be a wonderful thing. Give us lots of money.”
No monetary figures were thrown around. At the last meeting Whitney Jones Inc. threw out a $6.2 million figure – which included $4.2 million for renovation and restoration, $1.2 million for a three-year operating budget and just over $600,000 to pay the Town of Boone back for fronting the Downtown Boone Development Association money to purchase the theatre.
Terri Dillon of Whitney Jones Inc. said that it was tough to go to potential donors without being able to show them what future plans will look like. She and others also said it was hard to figure out what types of programs and performances will be featured in the space if the design isn’t known.
“This is very, very helpful. I think we have made leaps and bounds since [we last met]. The concept drawing is perfect – exactly what we need. We don’t need architectural renderings [as this point],” Dillon said. “Like Frank said, ‘Nothing is permanent. This is just something to test and let people look at. It’s coming together.”
In the previous designs which were deemed to expensive, the stage house was removed. In this design known as Appalachian Theatre Model #4a, the concrete stage will be removed and rebuilt. The stage depth will be extended from 17 to 28 feet. The design features a kitchenette, upper lobby and meeting room on the second floor. The basement under the stage features four dressing rooms, green room, optional orchestra pit, mechanical storage and a loading dock outside.
Also included in the meeting were discussions about the need for centralized box office, a website for the project, an annual membership for supporters, and user surveys from groups that would like to use the facility once it’s all said and done.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 18. Check back for more info.