News Column

Maryland Hall renovations on track to be done by September

July 11, 2014

By Alex Jackson, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

July 11--Over the buzz of a rotating saw, board members and donors at Maryland Hall smiled broadly and stood in awe.

Renovations are underway at the Annapolis landmark, and it's looking less like a high school auditorium and more and more like a "performing arts center" every day, said Alan Friedman, a board member who attended Thursday's private walk-through.

"Amazing," Friedman said. "It's amazing."

With the help of state money, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts has moved up a project to make $2 million of improvements to its aging auditorium.

The former Annapolis High School building on Chase Street is nearly 80 years old. The renovations encompass virtually everything about the auditorium except heating and air conditioning, which are slated to be done later.

Judy Armstrong, Maryland Hall's capital campaign coordinator, said the project is on track to be done by September -- in time for the four resident companies to begin their seasons.

The work includes installation of:

-- ?An 18-inch-deep orchestra pit.

-- ?More than 500 first-floor seats. The 182 balcony seats were replaced a couple of years ago.

-- ?Window shutters. The eight windows were a separate restoration project last summer.

-- ?A movable stage extension.

-- ?Movable box seating on either side of the room, with handicapped access.

-- ?Two ceiling pipe lighting systems and controls.

-- ?Stage risers.

-- ?Cosmetic improvements, including painting and upgrades to the the stage's framing.

The work originally was scheduled to be the third phase of $18 million of improvements to the arts center. Other aspects of the project include two additions and a small theater.

Originally, nothing was scheduled to begin until 2015, and the auditorium work could have been as late as 2018.

Then Maryland Hall received more than $3.5 million in seed money from the state to get started. A capital campaign is now underway to raise the rest, Armstrong said.

More than $5 million has been raised to date, she said.

Maryland Hall, a nonprofit, serves more than 100,000 people annually. It generally hosts between 700 and 800 arts classes a year, running six to eight weeks, for students of all levels. Classes are on hold during construction.


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Source: Capital (Annapolis, MD)

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