The demolition of the main building on the USU Eastern Campus after the Reeves building was constructed left the Geary Theater and Music buildings standing alone and vulnerable. For years it has been known the Theater is in great need of seismic upgrades and other major repairs.
The college has been looking for funding to replace the building and have approached the legislature for 10 years now. The last three years it has been top on the Board of Regent’s list, but there was no money in the state coffers to fund it. Replacement of the Geary Theater, the Music Hall and the old SAC building is estimated in excess of $4 million.
The bad news is, this year there is more money for the legislature to dole out, but the project has dropped back to fifth place on the Board of Regents list and 11th in the overall state building fund priority.
The good news is that after a recent seismic study, the Geary Theater can be saved with proper retrofitting and upgrades. That drops the cost down to $2 million to fix the Geary Theater and replace the old SAC and Music buildings.
Brad King, Vice Chancellor, felt like it was still a long shot for funding the building this legislative session because, even though there may be adequate dollars in the state budget to cover the cost, the mood of the session is one of conservative spending due to the still pending federal fiscal cliff issues that could result in cuts affecting Utah’s budget.
King hopes the following year funding may finally become a reality. To put a little more pressure on and show the community support for this, USU Eastern has just recently started round two of their Geary Theater Challenge. This is an effort to raise some local money to show the legislature that the project has strong local support.
They have mailed a brochure and letter to local alumni explaining this project and its goals. The goal is to raise $100,000.00 in 100 days. King is also hoping for other community support from anyone who has had the privilege of attending events at the Theater.
Any amount will be both accepted and appreciated, however, a donation of $1,000.00 or more, will have your name memorialized with a plaque on a chair in the remodeled Geary Theater.
The Theater will be seismically upgraded, the whole basement reworked, made ADA and fire code compliant and new utilities and mechanical areas upgraded to current code. The project will also add a scene shop and storage to the current building.
The other $19,000,000.00 in the project will build additions to the Geary to replace space from the SAC and Music Building and become a central instructional building with classrooms for many departments beyond theater and music.
вЂњThe money we raise through the Geary Theater Challenge will go toward furnishings that are not covered in the construction,вЂќ King explained. вЂњFunds raised through the Geary Theater Challenge must be used for the Geary Theater and for no other purpose. If this project is funded, the Geary will be ready to serve our students well into the future. This project will make it unnecessary to seek a new theater for many years.вЂќ
So far the project is halfway to its goal of $100 k in 100 days.