Miller Theater project moves forward

Friday, March 2, 2012 10:10 AM
Last updated Sunday, March 4, 2012 1:46 AM
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The restoration project for the historic Miller Theater is moving forward.

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Levi Hill IV and Joe Huff walk around the Miller Theater. Symphony Orchestra Augusta took over the building in December and is currently looking for an architect to perform renovations.   JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Levi Hill IV and Joe Huff walk around the Miller Theater. Symphony Orchestra Augusta took over the building in December and is currently looking for an architect to perform renovations.

After taking possession of the Broad Street building in December, Symphony Orchestra Augusta is trying to find an architect and is accepting proposals, said Levi Hill IV, the chairman of the Miller Theater steering committee.

“We’re in the early stages of looking at design and architectural support for the project,” Hill said. “We are excited to be in a position to move forward with this project. We feel that Augustans are eager to see the Miller reopen.”

The committee would like to select an architect by late April or early May. The project, expected to total $14.5 million, is eligible to receive $5.2 million in special purpose local option sales tax funding, if Sym­phony Orchestra Augusta can raise 25 percent of the amount.

The committee will need to launch a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining $9.3 million for the project and establish an endowment to help sustain the theater, Hill said.

“We’re looking to renovate the Miller to accommodate various types of performances throughout the area. It will be not only the home for the symphony, but it will also accommodate other stage performances, dance as well as music and opera,” Hill said.

The orchestra would like to open the facility during its 2014-15 season, he said. The 1,300-plus seat performing arts hall will be available for rental by promoters and arts groups.

In 2008, Peter Knox offered the building as a gift to the orchestra. It spent about 2 ½ years conducting a feasibility study involving five consultants to determine whether the restoration was a viable project.

The Miller has served mostly as a movie theater, but it was also built to accommodate live performances, Hill said.

“We have proposed to make some modifications to the stage to expand the stage space," he said. "That’s going to be necessary to enable other performances to play there. The stage right now is rather shallow. It’s common with old theaters like the Miller to have a stage expansion. That’s the biggest renovation."

The committee plans to “maintain the architectural style of the building, but also make it usable for contemporary performing events.” The goal is to preserve the millwork, hardware and general shape of the building as much as possible, Hill said.

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David Parker
David Parker 03/02/12 - 11:55 am
Can't wait for a grand

Can't wait for a grand reopening night. Just a great historical save.

countyman 03/02/12 - 12:31 pm
This is definitely another

This is definitely another boost to the CBD, and especially Lower Broad....

The lower broad area is starting to see a large amount of private construction.. Sprint Food & Metro Market at 851 Broad, Downtown Barroom located at 877 Broad, Bar 544 at 544 Broad, Just Essentials at 956 Broad, Killer B Disc Golf at 863 Broad, S4 Lounge at 952 Broad, mix use project at 566 Broad, 967 Broad has four new apts, Tantra Lounge and Sundrees Market in the Whites Building, 6 Degrees(Outdoor/Sporting Goods) at 752 Broad street, and two other renovations underway at 565 and 586 Broad..

The progress of the CBD continues to move forward extremely fast compared to the previous decade. TEE Center, purchasing of Fort Discovery, sold WJBF studios, Sprint Food & Metro Market, Rural Sourcing 100 IT jobs, Whites building, Whites warehouse, Hyatt Place hotel, Downtown Barroom, Tantra Loung, etc. Then we can still look forward to the retail, residential, research park, and multi-use facility at the GGHF site...

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