Kilgore College Matches $100,000 Grant To Renovate Van Cliburn Auditorium - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/01/08 - Kilgore

Kilgore College Matches $100,000 Grant To Renovate Van Cliburn Auditorium

The Kilgore College Foundation and the Texas Shakespeare Festival will match a $100,000 grant awarded by the Meadows Foundation of Dallas to renovate Van Cliburn Auditorium on the Kilgore College campus.  Renovations at Van Cliburn Auditorium, the 222-seat home of the Texas Shakespeare Festival, are scheduled to be completed in time for this summer's TSF shows which begin July 3.

Raymond Caldwell, director of the TSF, said he is grateful to the Meadows Foundation and thrilled about the ongoing renovations.

"We are thankful not only to the Meadows Foundation, but also the Kilgore College Office of Development, Dan Beach (who has coordinated the renovation efforts) the Kilgore College Maintenance Department, those in the community who helped to generate the initial matching grant and to everyone who has contributed to the fund-raising effort," Caldwell said.  "Every year, thousands of people from all parts of the country attend performances in Van Cliburn Auditorium.  Providing them a comfortable, attractive and safe environment is one way to give them the best impression of both Kilgore College and the city of Kilgore."

Renovations include replacing seats, carpet, lighting and curtains.  The plan also includes building a new wooden stage floor and stage extension with removable sections to accommodate all kinds of musicals and plays.  The new stage is currently under construction and should be finished by the end of the week.

The most substantial expense with the remodel will be replacing the auditorium's electrical circuits and house and stage lighting systems.

"I have had the privilege of producing and directing plays inside this auditorium for 33 years, beginning when the facility was virtually brand new and considered a state-of-the-art theater," Caldwell said. "I think everyone who works in the space and everyone who attends performances will be delighted by the refurbishing."

In 2003, the college began the first of a four-phase renovation of the fine arts center which included adding better handicap accessibility, stage rigging and a new heating and air conditioning system.  The cost of the first three phases was approximately $1.4 million and the money was raised by a local capital fund drive, "Preserving the Past, Securing the Future."

The auditorium, built in 1965 and located in the three-story Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center, is used by approximately 22,000 patrons each year, including the college's fine arts programs.  The TSF accounts for 55 percent of the facility's annual use.

The Meadows Foundation, founded in 1948 and headquartered in Dallas, is a private philanthropic institution that has disbursed over $550 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to over 2,000 Texas institutions and agencies.

The foundation exists to "assist people and institutions of Texas to improve the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations" according to the organization's mission statement.

Cathryn Khalil, reporting.

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