Beaver Dam Fine Arts Center nears completion

October 6, 2018

Anticipation is building as Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s new Fine Arts Center nears completion.

In 2014, the organization purchased the former St. Patrick’s School at 117 W. Maple Ave., Beaver Dam, to be reconstructed as a theater. After years of fundraising, renovation of the school began last December.

Theatre President and Project Manager Scott Eberle said the inside of the building looks different as each day passes.

“Insulation and drywall are going in now and we’re getting ready to install the elevator,” he said.

Due to some construction delays, the projected opening of the Fine Arts Center was pushed back. As a result, a Loco Vocals concert and Christmas musical were canceled. The concert is being rescheduled for a later date.

The last main stage musical at the current building, 219 S. Spring St., is “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” It opens with a $5 preview night Oct. 17.

Eberle said the preview nights were established as a way of making the performances accessible to everyone.

“Accessibility has always been our focus with this project, whether we’re talking about physical or financial. We are trying to meet people’s needs and bring them in our doors,” he said.

Eberle said the new center will feature a hearing loop system. And in addition to the elevator for the patrons to use, there is an elevator for the orchestra pit.

“It’s wonderful that musicians of all abilities will be able to join us,” said Annette Kamps, building fund drive co-chairwoman and one of the organization’s founding members.

BDACT is still hoping to meet its “no debt” goal.

The organization started with a $2.4 million budget. Due to increasing costs and a few emerging necessities over the years, the project total increased to $2.9 million. Eberle said they have about $180,000 to raise to meet their goal.

Kamps said she is getting excited for the future.

“We’ve been on Spring Street for a lot of years and made many memories there, but I’m ready to move,” she said. “We’ve been working on getting to this point for over 10 years.”

About four artists are working on a wall mural for the entrance of the building to tie in with the murals located throughout the city.

“They are putting together a design and will paint it on panels so they can get started on it right away,” Kamps said.

Eberle is anxious for the project completion as well.

“Right now, we have over 100 nights of activity planned in the center next year,” he said. “This place will be great for Beaver Dam and the surrounding communities and I can’t wait to see it.”

The BDACT Fine Arts Center will hold a grand opening and open house Dec. 29. For more information and how to make a pledge or donate, see bdact.org.

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