GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - It's all happening! The call for bids on the large-scale Avalon Theatre remodel happened Monday, March 4. Plus, fundraising efforts by the board of the Avalon Cornerstone Project just hit the million dollar mark.
According to the Avalon Cornerstone Project development director Robin Brown, that puts donations at "just over $7 million total." The City of Grand Junction gave $3.1 million, and the Downtown Development Authority also committed $3 million.
Additional fundraising for the project's full build-out is still required, however. Currently, the extensive revamp, called the "Cornerstone Project," is split into two phases - a $7 million "core" project, followed by a "full build-out," which would cost another $5-7 million.
"Bids (are) due back March 26," Brown said in an email. "The city council hopes to award the bid early April if all goes well and bids are within expected range, and the project will hopefully be underway by early summer. The Foundation expects to continue to raise money throughout the year with the understanding that as we raise money, the city council will add that amount to the back of the project."
"We are also forming a Physicians Founding Group and hosting a fundraising reception for them at the end of March, followed by the '1000 for 1000' (million dollar club) in April," Brown added. "So, (we have) lots of stuff still in play and fundraising activities happening throughout the year."
Phase 1, which encompasses the "core" upgrades, is out to bid now. That includes new seats, expanded seating (from 967 to 1,100), ADA-accessibility upgrades, a multipurpose room with retractable seating, new lighting and sound, upgraded acoustics in the main theater, new digital technology for movie screenings, and a better heating and cooling system. The vacant lot to the east of the theater will house an addition, with a new entrance, a lobby, expanded concessions, new bathrooms on both the first floor and upper mezzanine, and a public elevator to every level.
Future fundraising money will go toward Phase 2, which includes "finishing the rooftop terrace on the addition and adding an addition across the alley to double the size of the stage," Brown said.
While the last live performance at the Avalon is currently scheduled for mid-April, Brown added that movies will be shown right up until it closes for construction. The official closure date will be decided this month.