GOSHEN — This was something out of the blue, but it was good news for the Goshen Theater Board overseeing the renovation of the historic Goshen Theater.
The board received a $1 million gift which will help to speed up the overall completion of the renovation project that’s already underway.
Phase one started in May of this year. The $4 million project included a number of things but not anything to do with the auditorium just yet
“It was mostly about expanding the lobby, putting in new restrooms and an elevator, which is huge because we have a beautiful ball room on the third floor, which would be more useable and rentable,” said Everett Thomas, chair of the Goshen Theater Board.
But work on the auditorium is on the radar now rather than later thanks to a generous benefactor.
“They went to the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and said, ‘If I give $500,000 for seating and fixing up the auditorium, would you match that?’ and they decided to do that,” said Thomas.
The $1 million would pay for new seating on the main floor and possibly the balcony, along with new carpet, repainting the auditorium and repair of the plaster ceiling.
It’s an exciting time for those who are following the progress of the renovation of the historic Goshen Theater. One of the biggest things about the gift is it moves the final completion date up somewhat.
“I think the thing that’s most exciting is that it not only helps with the completion of our renovation, but it does also makes possible some things we didn’t think we could do,” said Amber Burgess, Goshen Theater manager.
The anonymous gift was unexpected.
“It was the greatest Christmas present, the greatest surprise,” said Burgess. “It was incredible.”
Original plans that called for completion date of phase one was expected to be completed by February of next year. The addition of the auditorium work could move that back to May or June.