|Photo: Robert Umenhofer, Consigli Construction|
“This is an extraordinary day in the life of this historic building, and I can’t begin to express my gratitude to everyone who has played a part thus far,” said Executive Director Gary Schiro. “The full-scale restoration of our facility will allow the Hudson Opera House to celebrate its historic legacy while offering an elevated range and level of programming that it cannot currently present. We look forward to reopening the space to artists and our public a year from now, when the Hudson Opera House will be transformed into a beacon for artistic discovery and exploration."
Interior goals for the Hudson Opera House construction include rehabilitation of the performance hall, mezzanine, stage, and support spaces, including five dressing rooms, a lighting and sound booth, Green Room, laundry, and accessible restrooms. These renovations will restore the theater into a high quality, professional grade working venue suitable for a diverse range of programming and public events.
The exterior space will also be treated to an upgrade: exterior masonry and windows and doors will be restored. A new roof, fire stairs, and restored cornice have already been completed.
Steps are also being taken to modernize the building and ensure accessibility, safety, and security for employees and visitors. Work will include lead and asbestos abatement and new electrical, fire protection, and HVAC systems. A new elevator tower in the southeast corner of the building will provide access to the basement, main and auditorium levels of the building. For the first time in the building’s history, the performance hall will be accessible to all, including those who are unable to use the historic staircase.
At the same time, the character of the historical building will be retained. The current proscenium arch and raked wooden floor stage were late 19th century additions and will be preserved. The historic fabric will also be retained, and new elements will be sensitively incorporated to retain the overall historic character of the spaces.
Concurrent with the beginning of this final phase of restoration, the Hudson Opera House is launching an $8.5 million campaign to support the Next Stage Capital Project. To date, $7 million toward this goal has been secured with lead gifts from the Board of Directors; public support from Empire State Development, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Council on the Arts; and private funds from foundations and individuals, including major gifts from the Educational Foundation of America and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also provided investment through its Community Facilities program, secured with assistance from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and in partnership with Kinderhook Bank, which aims to improve rural community infrastructure and quality of life. These funds will enable the performance hall to reopen in 2017 while the Hudson Opera House works to secure the final $1.5 million needed for additional fixtures and fittings, soft costs, and operating capacity.
The project team for this final phase of restoration is made up of the following architects, contractors, designers, and structural engineers:
- Marilyn Kaplan, principal architect of Preservation Architecture in Albany, New York, has been the lead architect on the project since 1993, guiding the Opera House through 12 capital projects to re-open the first floor and stabilize the building. A national building code expert, Kaplan has worked on dozens of preservation projects throughout the Northeast, with a focus on historic museums, libraries, and structures owned by nonprofit organizations.
- Consigli Construction, NY, with local offices in Dutchess County and Albany, has been awarded the contract through a public bidding process. The family-owned firm has an annual turnover of $120 million, its own mill house, and specializes in historic restoration. Restoring the New York State Capital and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library are just a few of the many high-profile projects in Consigli’s portfolio.
- Chris Buckley of Production & Performance Facility Consulting is providing design services for the performance and rehearsal facilities. He draws on 30 years of theatrical production and project management experience, including production management at BAM and Rosas Dance Company in Brussels, Project Manager for the restoration of the BAM Majestic Theater (renamed the BAM Harvey), and as Vice President of Construction at New 42nd Street, Inc.
- Proper & O'Leary Engineering is the project’s structural and civil engineering firm, and specializes in historic preservation and public sector projects. IBC Engineering is the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering firm, known for its collaborative approach to project design and development.
- Landmark Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in existing historic and landmark buildings, will serve as the Opera House’s Owners Representatives. Led by Kimberly Konrad Alvarez and John D. Alvarez II, Landmark is a NYS certified woman-owned business enterprise with experience working with state agencies and private foundations on grant-funded projects.