The Liberty Center Association for the Arts will announce a “new” gift of $100,000 during groundbreaking ceremonies at 4 p.m. today on the center’s expansion in the “The Next Stage Capital Campaign.”
The campaign, which launched Dec. 12, 2013, at Hotel Bothwell, has raised approximately $800,000 in cash and pledges, and will feature several art galleries, a theater stage renovation and make the facility handicap accessible.
Ed Watkins, campaign manager, said in a news release Friday that several local donors have secured naming rights to different aspects of the expansion by collectively giving $550,00 in cash and pledges.
Bob and Barbara Hayden have “secured the naming rights” to LCAA which will now be called the Hayden Liberty Lona Theater for the Arts and also the naming rights for the Dale Wood Western Arts Gallery.
Joe Fischer, who was one of the first to “envision” the new facility and expansion, has secured the naming rights to the Fischer Family Arts Gallery. Barbara Schrader has secured the rights to the Barbara Schrader Gallery; and Sylvia G. Thompson will focus on renovation of the theater.
“Here’s where we are, we’re going to break ground, which means we’re going to have our contract signed, and we’re going to start construction pretty doggone quick,” Watkins told the Democrat on Thursday.
He added that project construction estimates were more than expected.
“We’re having to take a loan out because it’s going to be a little more than we thought it was going to be,” he added.
Original estimates were $700,000 for the theater renovation, the lounge remodel, and the 90-foot gallery addition to the west of the building.
“When you’re talking about the financing, we’re really talking about $1 million for everything, with the exception of the fly system (for the theater),” he said. “That’s still what we’re going to do. When we got the bids in, the lowest bid we got was $880,000.
“One of the reasons it’s going to be more expensive … is we’re just going for top quality,” Watkins added. “We’re looking at renovating a soon-to-be 100-year-old facility and we’re looking at building art galleries. We going to do everything we can to make this the best possible quality.”
Once they break ground, Watkins said they plan to start construction “immediately.”
“This has been a real tremendous experience to have the community respond in this way right on top of our Trail’s End initiative,” he noted. “We’re going to have two really great things for our community to celebrate.”
Watkins added that he hopes the project will place Sedalia on the map as an arts mecca in Central Missouri and he encourages the public to attend the groundbreaking ceremonies today.