3 years? Not anymore.
The $720,000 in New York State grants we received in December 2018 to support phase 1 of the restoration and rehabilitation of historic Klinkhart Hall originally included a new roof and essential stabilization work and exterior restoration. Access to, and use of the building for events was going to wait until phase 2 & 3.
But now, instead of waiting three years to get access to the second floor, the work plan and budget have been reconfigured to allow for access to, and use of the second floor former Masonic Hall at the conclusion of phase 1!
Working with our architects (Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson), we have been able to reconfigure the original scope of work – and stay within the $1.1M phase 1 budget – so that Phase 1 will now include a new interior stairway to the second floor, AND it will allow us to refurbish the former Masonic Hall for use as a multipurpose Performance Hall, while still taking care of essential stabilization work, including roof replacement!
What’s more, there will also be a multi-use gallery space upstairs, as well as a refurbished kitchen, restrooms, a lounge/dressing room area; new emergency exits and, on the first floor, a newly expanded lobby. Imagine being able to attend one of our Poetry Festival events, a Klinkhart Conversation, or a concert in our own Performance Hall. Now that is very exciting news for certain!
Why this change of plans?
It’s simple: as important as Klinkhart Hall is as a landmark in the Sharon Springs historic district, Klinkhart Hall Arts Center is not just about the building. It’s about the community, and to be a part of the community we need a place that the community can use. The original 1885 Klinkhart Hall had an “opera house” on the second floor: a home for musical entertainments, meetings, dances, banquets, lectures and all sorts of public gatherings. This revised phase 1 plan will allow the “new” Klinkhart Hall to serve the community in the same way. We need a place to call home, and this will get us there sooner than we thought!
What is it going to look like?
Above you can see an architectural rendering of what the outside of the building will look like when the project is complete, also a circa 1885 picture of the building when it opened. Notice that the rendering includes restoration of the “Klinkhart Hall” sign at the top of the metal cornice and parapet. The name refers to the second floor “opera house” which gave George Klinkhart’s new building its name; the name disappeared after the 1911 fire, but will again be there when the building restoration is complete.
In the floor plans here, the color-shaded areas indicate where work will be performed in the revised phase 1. (Most work on the downstairs theater will wait until later phases.) On the first floor plan, you can see that the current lobby will be extended across the front of the building, providing access to a new stairway visible in the lower right corner.
Upstairs, the stairway will enter an existing space that will be renovated as a multi-use gallery. A new double door entrance will be added into the Performance Hall, which is the renovated existing Masonic Hall.
In addition the existing kitchen and restrooms will be renovated, along with the existing lounge, which can serve as dressing rooms for the performance hall as needed, as well as fulfill other functions.
In all of these spaces, existing details will be preserved whenever possible. For example, the decorative metal ceilings in the lobby and the Performance Hall will be removed, cataloged and preserved for later re-installation (same for the theater when we get there. Phase 1 will provide code compliant, fire retardant ceiling for these areas basis for the revised phase 1.
What happens after Phase 1?
The purpose of the revised phase 1 is to gain access to, and use of the second floor now rather than waiting three years, as we originally thought we would have to do. In order to make this happen, the full restoration of the building facade and exterior will be deferred until phase 2, as will crucial elevator access to the second floor; rehabilitation of the first floor theater will remain a phase 3 undertaking — but all of these things will still happen. In the meantime, this new phase 1 plan will – by May 2021– address all of the crucial stabilization issues and get us into the building. This will allow historic Klinkhart Hall to once again be in use for the community.
In future phases, there will be additional work on the second floor to complete the renovation, as well as full restoration of the exterior and – ultimately – a state-of-the-art theater stage on the first floor in the old Smalley’s Movie Theatre (circa 1923 to 1950s).
You can see in the above images what the outside of the building will look like when fully restored, also the new Phase 1 floor plans. Here are floor plans for the fully renovated first and second floors, also a floor plan for the new basement level, which will include actors dressing rooms public restrooms, and mechanical spaces. (Click on the images to view a larger version.)