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Construction Timeline for Phase One of Restoration of Old App Theatre Released

Artistic renderings of the restoration plans for the historic Appalachian Theatre.

By Jesse Wood

The nonprofit group restoring the historic Appalachian Theatre on King Street released a construction timeline for phase one of the project, according to packet information for the upcoming Boone Town Council meeting on Thursday.

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) anticipates releasing phase one to bid during the week of Oct. 26. The bid will open on Thursday, Nov. 19 and contract awarded sometime before Christmas. In early January, a notice to proceed will be issued. Exterior work is set to begin in late March or early April depending on how stubborn Old Man Winter is 2015-16. The façade/marquee should be completed in May.

In June of this year, ATHC announced the public phase of the capital campaign to renovate and restore the historic Appalachian Theatre to its original 1938 art deco design. Prior to that the three years of the silent phase of fundraising netted $6.1 million of the $7.85 million goal, roughly 78 percent.

Before the silent phase began in 2012, the Town of Boone fronted the Downtown Boone Development Association a three-year loan worth $624,000 to purchase the gutted theatre in foreclosure in the fall of 2011. The DBDA and The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, a nonprofit that was formed to take over the possession of the theatre and manage operations, eventually paid the town back for purchasing the theatre in 2013.

The goal all along has been to open the restored theatre on Nov. 14, 2016, which coincides with the 77th birthday of the old Appalachian Theatre, and by looking at the released timeline, things look to be on track.

The future seating capacity of the theatre will be about 675 seats and will be versatile as far as what is featured there: music, theatre, dance, community events and more. It also has an orchestra pit, which a donor has individually funded to cover the anticipated $650,000 in expenses for the pit.

According to a quote in the prepared slideshow for Thursday in the council’s meeting packet, Steve Schuster, founding principal of his architecture firm, Clearscapes, said, “This will be the best theatre Clearscapes has designed in an existing building times 2”

The theatre is expected to hold more than 200 activities per year and at least 60 events that are anticipated to draw folks from several states.

In June, ATHC Chair John Cooper said there is also a separate financial campaign for operating expenses. The goal is to raise $750,000 to cover operating expenses (revenue versus expenses) for the first three years of operation before opening the theatre. Cooper noted a wide array of foundations, which haven’t been tapped, offer grants to fund operating expenses but not renovation expenses.

For more information, click to http://www.savetheapptheatre.com.