The Town Council approved a call for bids to remodel the vacant upstairs space as part of the improvements to the Village Theatre, at its meeting Sept. 4. The town is putting a new roof on the theater, converting the empty area on the second floor into office space, and renovating the restrooms on the first floor, said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.
Additionally, it is enhancing the electrical work and expanding the first floor lobby for gallery space to make it accessible on the ground floor.
"We have a need for gallery space for all arts groups and organizations," said Calabrigo. "There will be a broad range of artists."
Currently, the Role Players Ensemble Theatre and children's theater groups regularly use the venue. Calabrigo said the Danville Arts Commission and Arts Stronger Together Coalition, comprising arts groups in the vicinity, plan to feature a variety of artwork.
Calabrigo noted the theater upgrades are broken up into three phases. He said the roof work and electrical work are phase one; turning the vacant upstairs area into office space is phase two; and the lobby and restroom improvements are phase three. The work, part of the town's Capital Improvement Program, was budgeted at $865,000.
"They really needed to upgrade and make (the theater) handicap accessible," Calabrigo said.
"We are going to free up some space downstairs," said Steve Lake, town director of Development Services. "This will indirectly lead to improvements in the lobby."
The roof and electrical work is scheduled to be finished by the end of September.
The Village Theatre, which is recognized as a historical site, is on Front Street along with the Town Meeting Hall, the library, the community center and the Eugene O'Neill Commemorative. Additionally, it is near the Veterans Memorial Building and downtown businesses.
Calabrigo said this cluster of town buildings was fortuitous but has been carefully nurtured and planned.
"It is a nice coincidence," he said.
Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com