BATAVIA — With work to resume in the new year, the Main Street Theater 56 project is expected to be done by the fall.
Batavia Players Executive and Artistic Director Patrick Burk said crews will finish what’s left with demolition in the area that will host backstage, a small rehearsal area, orchestra pit and changing rooms. The stage will start in that area but extent out toward the audience. They will continue working on the rest of the state-of-the-art performing arts center as well.
“Then they’re going to pick up with the engineering standpoint of it, which is, ‘What is staying as far as air conditioning, heating units, all that stuff?’” he said. Once they get that done, they’ll start with the actual … rebuilding. They’re adapting some of our plans so that we have a bigger seating area. The staging is going to be pretty unique, but it’s going to still be intimate, the way we had it originally planned. It’s a work in progress.”
When construction work continues in January, crews will work right through to the end of the project, Burk said.
“At this point in time, we should be able to maintain fairly steady progress. Sometime in 2022, although I believe it will be the fall, we’ll be opening,” he said.
The new architect on the project is Foit-Albert Associates Architecture, Engineering and Surveying, P.C. of Buffalo.
“We had to bring in somebody that could do the work that is required from a demolition standpoint and as far as the work that should be accomplished in a much speedier fashion than we were thinking would happen,” Burk said.
Burk said the project was coming along well.
“We’re to the point every day where something is happening, whether it be some small form of demolition or something being done as far as the design. Right now we’re to the point where we’re selecting finishes. What’s going on the walls? What’s color is this going to be? What kind of materials are you bringing in, that sort of thing,” he said. “We hadn’t gotten to that place before and now we’re there.”
Burk said the biggest delay has been COVID and being able to maintain a regular work schedule, which pretty much shut the project down for 20 months.
The shutdown had an impact both financially, affecting reimbursement through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), and an impact on being able to get work done.
“We haven’t really gotten into purchasing the materials and that sort of thing yet. We’re hoping that because we’ll be moving into 2022 for building and construction, that some of the major increases in cost that people were experiencing for different things … that some of that will be eliminated and removed from the new building perspective.”
Burk said he didn’t have an estimate, but the cost of the project is going up.
“We’re just deciding now what the finishing materials are going to be,” he said. “That’s where a lot of the expenses will be reflected.”
The Batavia Players will continue to have productions in a temporary theater area in the City Centre in the meantime.
“Right around Christmas, we’ll be announcing our 2022 season,” he said. “That space (the temporary space) seats about 90. That, again, is conditional, based on COVID.”