Georgia College proposes re-use of historic Campus Theatre
News from Georgia College & State University
August 2, 2007
MILLEDGEVILLE, GA — Georgia College & State University today announced it is proposing to reopen the historic Campus Theatre on Hancock Street in downtown Milledgeville, adapting the buildings interior into a black box performance theatre and retail book store. The theatre, which is a prominent part of the city’s downtown area, was built in 1935 and closed in 1983.
For several years, I have been looking for opportunities that benefit both Georgia College and the community — and reuse of the Campus Theatre as a performance theatre and bookstore is a great fit for both, said Georgia College President Dorothy Leland. Bringing this beautiful building to life once again will not only reutilize unoccupied space, but also play a significant role in the continued redevelopment of downtown Milledgeville.
According to President Leland, the project would preserve the buildings exterior and re-adapt the interior to include space for the university’s theatre arts program, including a black box which could be configured in a variety of ways. Examples of such configurations could include a regular stage and seating, a theatre in the round or other set up, depending on the program being presented.
As envisioned, the building would also house a book store that would feature a variety of general selections in addition to text books, providing the downtown area with a valuable new retail venue. Under the plan, the usable interior space of the building would be expanded from the current 17,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet.
While we are looking to re-adapt the interior of the building, we will preserve and restore its historic exterior, President Leland said. The facade, marquee, doorways, ticket booth and other features will all look exactly as they were in 1935 when the building was constructed.
In announcing the proposal, President Leland said that while the university had completed the due diligence phase of the project, it must now prepare to ask for approval from the Board of Regents of the State University System of Georgia.
The initial due diligence phase of the project was completed by The Christman Company of Lansing, Michigan. Previously, the firm worked with the university on the multi-million dollar restoration of the Old Governors Mansion, which is part of the Georgia College campus.
While preliminary discussions have been held with the owner of the Campus Theatre building, Randall Hattaway, President Leland stressed that negotiations are still underway and that the university has not yet executed purchase of the structure.
We have taken the first step in this exciting project, but many more remain ahead, she said. It will likely be several months before all of the details and approvals are in place, but I am confident that Georgia College can and will — do a first-class job of bringing the Campus Theatre back as a centerpiece of the downtown area.