Ground Breaking Kicks Off Fast and Furious – The ceremonial ground breaking for the restoration of the Historic West Bend Theatre will take place on May 1 in front of the 1929 vaudeville and movie house, but the real work has already begun. Crews from MSI General, our design/build contractor, are charging ahead. Week one, starting April 15, saw the lead paint abatement crew begin their work in the bowels of the building and working their way up. Demolition of the old sky walk on the northeast side of the structure is completed. Basement level demolition is nearly complete. Balcony seats had to be removed to set up scaffolding for plaster and asbestos removal. Rotten wood is being removed from the marquee. The mansard sheet metal in front has been removed. Stand by for more reports on this complicated project. A decision is in the works on whether to re-install or replace the balcony seats.
Search for Executive Director Underway – The HWBT board’s plans to hire an executive director by July 1 has led to the start of a nationwide search. Two applications were submitted in the first week. A search committee of five people experienced in executive recruiting is managing the process. It has hired Historic Theatre Consultants to guide its efforts.
Grand Opening Timing Not Set Yet – The expectation of the board and MSI General was that it would take a full year for the restoration, meaning an opening in the spring of 2020. But there are signs that the construction may proceed more quickly and could be completed by the end of 2019. That would mean an earlier grand opening. We will keep you posted on the pace of restoration.
Restoration of Original Art Work – The discovery of the original stencils and artwork that is all over the inside of the movie house was an exciting surprise. We need to restore it to its original charm. Most of the artwork was hidden beneath maroon paint for years. The board is trying to come up with the ways and means to get the art brought back to life as part of the overall restoration. Several firms specialize in this kind of work.
Retired Teachers Pass the Hat – The Retired Educators Association of Washington County passed the hat at a recent meeting and came up with $464 for the cause. Every donation helps. Thanks to our great teachers for their careers and for supporting this cause.