Renovations continue on the Colonial Arts Center, formerly the old Colonial Theatre. Balcony seating is expected to arrive late this month. / Photos by Monica Zalaznik

Get a sneak peek inside the Colonial Arts Center as it preps for October grand opening

BUCKHANNON – The construction of the Colonial Arts Center is nearing completion, with balcony seating coming this month and main theater seating arriving in September.

The Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce met at the CAC for their June 14 meeting to see the progressing construction and learn about upcoming events.

CAC manager Anne Wilson acknowledged the lack of permanent seating at the beginning of the meeting and gave a brief timeline for the rest of the construction.

“We don’t have permanent seating just yet; it is set to arrive in late September, but our balcony seats are scheduled to be installed next Monday, June 19,” Wilson said. “The balcony theater might be usable more after that, but right now, the main space has been using the temporary seating for shows and events.”

The Buckhannon Community Theatre has performed several shows in the main theater, including ‘Clue,’ last October and an anniversary show last December.

“They just did their spring show, ‘Red Velvet Cake War,’ the first week of May, and we had over 1,700 or 1,800 people come through these doors for one event or another in the past year,” Wilson said. “That’s over 20 percent of our population. I think that’s a pretty good little number of people be coming in and out of these doors.”

These shows and events have been occurring while construction was underway, but the final touches are going to be complete soon.

“We are really getting close to finishing up all of the tiny construction details: contractors have mainly been working on doorways frames, the doors on the back of the building and our carpet is finally finished,” Wilson said. “I think there’s one stairwell that leads to my office that needs carpet, but the rest of the building is done, and we’re just about ready to rock. We do have artwork with the sponsorship for St. Joseph’s Hospital that’s going to go downstairs in our basement level.”

Upcoming events at the CAC include a Chamber of Commerce collaboration in October in the form of a murder mystery dinner.

“John Waltz is going to direct, and it’s going to be really fun,” Wilson said. “I know CJ at the Opera House is going to cater for that, and we’ll have roundtables in here, so it’ll be a completely different experience than anything we’ve ever had in this space. We also have ART26201 coming here Friday for the second annual Gray Barker Liars Contest.”

On July 7, The Rustic Mechanicals, a Shakespeare touring group, will perform a “Comedy of Errors.” City recorder Randy Sanders said the construction of the building had been a long process, but all the work would be worth it.

“It’s been an enormous task; this building was not in the greatest shape when the city took it over and started the transition, and we’ve had a lot of partnerships along the way,” Sanders said. “We have a lot of great corporate and business partnerships, and the state Arts, Culture and History division has been a big partner, as well as FirstEnergy, WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital, Sam’s Pizza, and we’re going to be honoring everybody in the lobby with a plaque once it’s finished.”

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