The Alleghany Foundation awarded a $150,000 grant to The Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation for the constructions of an Amphitheatre on the site of the former Wholesale Tire Company warehouse behind the Historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge. The area has repeatedly been included in long range downtown planning studies for development as an outdoor performance and public gathering space.
Third-year architecture students from the design/buildLab of Virginia Techâ€™s School of Architecture and Design are currently developing plans for the Amphitheatre and will also execute the construction. Keith and Marie Zawistowski, architects for the Historic Masonic Theatreâ€™s renovation, head the design/buildLab team of 17 students.
The students have met with many community members and have conducted interviews asking about the needs and wishes for a community Amphitheatre. Design ideas have been presented and the students will refine those plans using suggestions and input from the community. The community has benefitted from Virginia Techâ€™s design/buildLab previously with the construction of the Farmerâ€™s Market shelter in Covington.
The design/buildLAB is a third-year architecture studio focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs. The idea is for students to collaborate with local communities and experts to develop concepts and propose solutions to real world problems. The goal of the course is to teach students the skills necessary to confront the design and realization of architecture projects, with a consciousness for social and environmental issues.
Clifton Forge School of the Arts will provide space for storage and materials as the project progresses. Much of the project will be built off-site in Blacksburg in a pre-fabricated state.
â€śThe Amphitheater Project will both contribute to the quality of life in Clifton Forge and the Alleghany Highlands and instill a sense of community activism in a generation of future architects,â€ť said Keith and Marie Zawistowski.
Student Emarie Skelton stated, â€śWe are excited that the Foundation is helping us to make a tangible impact in Alleghany County with a project that will have a long-term community benefits."
The project will be completed in the studentsâ€™ academic year, summer 2012.
When asked about the Amphitheatre project, John Hillert, president of The Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation commented, â€śThis project meets many of the goals we have visualized for the beautiful Smith Creek stream-side area behind the Theatre. We are so pleased that the Alleghany Foundation supports this project by providing a grant so that Virginia Techâ€™s design/buildLab architect students can once again complete a project from concept to design to construction. Completion of the Amphitheatre will allow the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation and the community to have a venue for outdoor performances by early summer. It will allow organizations and groups to have a very nice outdoor facility in which to hold concerts, shows, auctions, flea markets and perhaps even outdoor movies. It is also gratifying to be able to implement a part of the downtown study which was funded by the Alleghany Foundation. The Amphitheatre should help bring the community together as one entity by supporting and encouraging educational and cultural programming initiated by and for the community. It should provide access to healthy entertainment for a broad range of residents that would not otherwise have access to it and support the areaâ€™s efforts for local social and economic development. This outdoor theatre should bring much needed traffic to downtown, and therefore support local businesses and tourism in addition to furnishing an outdoor facility to arts, entertainment and community event providers in the Alleghany Highlands. It is our hope that the Amphitheatre will serve as a vehicle for social revitalization and promote a sense of community while providing activities to all ages and interests.â€ť
Updates to the Amphitheatre project will be posted to www.historicmasonictheatre.com
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Questions regarding This Historic Masonic Theatre renovation may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
|One of the members of the design/buildLab Team presents the concept of his design to members of the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation Executive Board at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.|