City recorder Randy Sanders, a CAC board member, and CAC board president John Waltz at its most recent meeting Sept. 6. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Colonial Arts Center Board hopes to obtain occupancy permit by September’s end ahead of ‘Clue’ production

BUCKHANNON – The Colonial Arts Center board is aiming to have an occupancy permit by the end of September.

The CAC board discussed the ongoing construction of the center during their Sept. 6 board meeting. Colonial Arts Center Manager Anne Wilson said their progress on the project is steadily moving forward.

“We’ve made a lot of progress just in the past two or three weeks, and we’re really making a lot of progress on mainly the fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, and they’ve been doing drywall work in the main hall, essentially closing off all of those walls that were exposed on the stage before,” Wilson said. “They’ve also been installing the majority of the lighting, we’re still missing a few lighting fixtures in the basement, but for the most part, all of the lights are installed.”

Nine phones have been ordered to be installed at the center for offices and stage management.

“We’re trying to get the dressing rooms in the basement ready for [the Buckhannon Community Theatre’s production of] ‘Clue,’ but, if for any reason we can’t get them ready in time, Jerry [Arnold, city public works director] does have a backup plan to provide a trailer out back for dressing rooms, but we don’t think that that’s something we’re going to have to do that,” Wilson said. “I met with Jerry today and we’ve determined that if everything keeps moving as it is, which it should unless we run into any natural disasters, we should get our maximum occupancy permit for the space and get you guys in there rehearsing by Sept. 19, but we’ll get you in there as soon as possible.”

Wilson has also been working on building the CAC’s social media presence and other advertorial materials.

“I made a brochure that I handed to you all and the social media presence is growing; we have almost 700 likes on our Facebook page, and the Instagram account gains a few folks every week — it’s slow growth, but we are gaining some sort of attention online,” Wilson said. “There are a couple of typos I’ve already fixed on the brochure because I showed this to Randy a couple of weeks ago but my idea with the brochure was to put it here in City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, any event centers — really anywhere where you can put a brochure.”

The board also discussed the type of seating that should be installed in the main theater.

“I know one thing we’ve really been torn on currently is seating, and I did receive some new estimates this afternoon for some stackable and moveable chairs, very similar to what we have from the Event Center [at Brushy Fork] right now,” Wilson said. “They would have arms and I think they would be a little bit wider, maybe a little bit more comfortable; they’re from a company called Comfortek, so I needed to do a little bit more research into that, but I did send you the new quotes.”

President of the Colonial Arts Center Board John Waltz said they have also investigated the use of telescopic seating, which would make it easier for a few people to set up and break down the seats.

“They pull down and all the seats roll out and that can be done with a couple of people, with one or two people,” Waltz said. “k.b. saine raised a good question which is, ‘well, who’s going to do this?’ and that might help drive you to make a decision about the kind of seating that might be the easiest to use.”

City recorder Randy Sanders said he thinks telescopic seating is more costly but will provide added flexibility and ease in the future.  

“I think in terms of long-term investment, it shouldn’t be overlooked and we probably should try to go with something that’s more manageable by a couple of people,” Sanders said. “Amby and I have talked about this as well, and I’m really more focused on going for the telescopic seating, which is more costly now, but in the long run, it’s going to be a lot more manageable.”

“I appreciate everybody’s efforts in finding more economical ways to go about it, but I think this is one of those things where we need to look at the long-term effects,” he added.

The City of Buckhannon purchased the CAC property several years ago, and it operates under the umbrella of the municipality’s general fund, which includes City Hall, the police and fire departments, the street department, Consolidated Public Works Board and the Stockert Youth & Community Center. The CAC board meets monthly at Buckhannon City Hall.

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