Musical Theater Festival Aligns with Cayuga Community College

Musical Theater Festival Aligns with Cayuga Community College

Both the City Council and the Cayuga County Legislature committed at separate meetings to a partnership that would support plans for a 300-seat theater to be built in the center of Auburn’s “creative corridor” on State Street.

City councilors unanimously approved selling the vacant Kalet’s department store building, where the proposed theater site will be developed, to the county. In turn, county lawmakers agreed to negotiate buying the building from the city.

Once the sale goes through, plans call for the county to lease the space to Cayuga Community College, which in turn will level the building and construct the theater for the proposed summer festival. The event would run for 10 to 12 weeks in the summer, and is expected to start in 2011.

CCC’s board of trustees passed a resolution that approved the development of a downtown theater at their mid December meeting. The college also plans to use the facility to train students who want to be theater professionals. “To have a 21st century state-of-the-art theater is a tremendous asset,” college President Daniel Larson said.

Both the college and the group organizing the festival need to secure half the cost to move forward with the project. The estimated amount is approximately $4.8 million. No local tax dollars are to be expended, government officials said. CCC will try and secure their $2.4 million from SUNY, yet the funding is not yet guaranteed by the state. CCC President Daniel Larson said, “I have a positive outlook in terms of the musical theater festival being able to secure these funds.”

There is a process by which capital projects are moved into the state budget. The initial draft of the state budget was released in mid January, and the line item remained. The final target budget approval date is hoped for in April 2010.

Should CCC get the funding, after demolition, construction could start in the fall with the theater having a target completion date of summer 2011, said Larson.

Larson said the proposed theater would be utilized by CCC in the musical theater festival’s off-season, September through May. College classes, workshops, performances and technical training would take place there. The musical theater festival would utilize the space during June, through August. Further details on its use and management still need to be worked out, Larson said.