Why not just upgrade the Playhouse?
Upgrading the Playhouse was our first choice. But extensive study showed this would be a backwards move at unreasonable expense.
Refurbishing the facility to extend its life for 30 years would cost $12.9 million and require current building codes be met.
Life-safety, fire protection, egress and accessibility requirements would necessitate substantial changes:
- Elevators to reach the balcony,
- Exits with fire separation from all areas of the auditorium, and
- Fire protection such as sprinklers.
Meeting these codes would dramatically reduce capacity. We would lose more than a third of our seats, from 709 to 463. That is a step backwards, not forwards, in meeting the needs of our community.
We also considered expanding the current building to maintain seating and meet code. But at $20.5 million, the price is too high for no more or better infrastructure for future generations. Again, the needs of the community would not be met.