CAC board president John Waltz

Rental requests start rolling in for city’s new Colonial Arts Center

BUCKHANNON – The Colonial Arts Center is starting to receive its first rental requests as construction continues on the new Main Street venue.

CAC manager Anne Wilson updated board members on the ongoing progress at the center during the board’s July 5 meeting.

“The ADA platform for the staircases arrived, and we are supposed to have the fire alarm and fire suppression systems in place by the end of this month,” Wilson said. “Last time I talked to [architect] Bryson [Van Nonstrand], he said they are planning to meet up around July 8 to start looking at the equipment setup for all the sound and lighting equipment that’s over there right now.”

Wilson was optimistic that all the equipment would be installed by the end of July.

“I don’t know if the countertops have arrived yet, but Bryson said that the countertops were on the way, and in the meantime, I think they’re just going set things up on tables until the countertops arrive,” Wilson said.

Events are already taking place at the center, including the Gray Barker World UFO Day last weekend.

CAC manager Anne Wilson

“We had a really great turnout for our UFO Day on Saturday — thank you for being there,” Wilson said. “I think we had about 30 to 40 people in total. We had everybody gather in the art gallery, because we ended up having a few more people than expected and we didn’t want everybody crammed in the lobby. So we moved into the gallery space, and we just felt like it was a better environment for that many people.”

Wilson said the event inspired people on the sidewalk to look inside the new arts center.

“I felt like everybody that came really had a good time,” Wilson said. “We had some costume contest participants, and we had some folks participate in our scavenger hunt, so I felt like it was a pretty good first event for myself as a manager to host. It was nothing crazy, but Dave [McCauley] has very big plans for it to be much bigger next year.”

McCauley is also planning to arrange another Zombie Crawl at the center in October.

The center also is looking to start booking events. CAC board president John Waltz said the board received their first rental request to use the main theater room from Appalachian Impact, a local youth mentoring nonprofit.

“The first request was for the Appalachian Impact fundraising gala request, and I guess there are a couple of questions here,” Waltz said. “One, do we feel fit to take this up yet, or do you feel we should not take it up until we work out some policy things during the next meeting? Do you feel good try to talk about that today as a potential rental?”

Wilson said Appalachian Impact would like to rent the space for either Oct. 22 or Nov. 5. The board said there were several details about the event they would have to determine before definitively setting up the rental, including their plans to serve food, the final rental fee structure and the established purpose of the event. The second request to use the space came from the Buckhannon Community Theater, asking for the space to rehearse for ‘Frozen Jr.’

“I personally would not feel very comfortable with that at this moment in time,” Waltz said, noting the ongoing work at the facility. “I’m not sure that there’s enough in place with children coming and going and all that kind of thing.”

Wilson also asked the board to look for pictures of the center for its new website.

“One thing we need for the website is just photography content,” Wilson said. “I know we can’t really get to that point quite yet because the building’s not finished, but before the website can be published, we need to have some photography.”

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