News in Cortland NY

CRT Makes Progress on “CRT Downtown” Facility

Cortland Repertory Theatre has announced progress in the renovations of the new “CRT Downtown” facility at 24 Port Watson Street, the former home of the Recreation Bowling Alley. CRT, celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2011, will continue to present performances at the Little York Pavilion in all future summers; the plans for the “CRT Downtown” location include a new home for their administrative and box offices, scenic and costume construction shops and storage, and eventually a theatre for fall, winter and spring productions.

The architect for the project is C. Jeffrey Taw, a Cortland native and an associate in the firm of Holmes King Kallquist & Associates Architects, LLP based in Syracuse. HKK was founded as a two person partnership in 1981 and has grown to a staff of 22. The firm has produced award winning designs for a wide range of projects including historic preservation, adaptive re-use and renovation of existing buildings, new commercial construction and residential construction. HKK's other projects in the Cortland area include the Center for the Arts in Homer, The Central New York Living History Center, several projects for the City of Cortland Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the Clock Tower Building, the Alumni House for SUNY Cortland and the Cortland YWCA.

Serving as Construction Manager is the Hayner Hoyt Corporation. HHC has served as Construction Managers and General Contractors for 45 years and have been named a “Best Company to Work for in New York State” for 4 years in a row. Recent completed projects in the Cortland area are the Clocktower Building and Marvin Windows new facility. Currently, HHC also serves as Construction Manager for the Cortland YWCA.

CRT’s Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson says that the architectural plans are in the final stages of completion and CRT does hope to begin some renovations in early spring. Since their purchase of the building a year ago, CRT Board, Guild and community volunteers have cleared the building of debris and removed most of the non-structural remnants of the bowling alleys and front offices.

“It very exciting to see our plans begin to come together” Thompson says. “The actual downtown theatre is still at least a couple of years away, depending on fund raising strategies, but we’re looking forward to having our box office in a much more visible location. Looking to the future, there’s no doubt that having an operating theatre in downtown Cortland will help the local economy.” A recent economic impact study conducted by CRT showed that the theatre brings $1.7 million to the local economy with just a three month summer season; turning into a full year operation will have a significant impact on both the city and the county. However, Thompson notes, for the summer season of 2011 CRT will continue to operate out of their Box Office at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland.

In addition to professional mainstage productions similar to their summer offerings, CRT also plans to offer after-school theatrical workshops and programs for students, county-wide student productions, and adult workshops in acting at the new building. The theatre will also offer the chance to hold business conferences, community dances and receptions. “This will be a unique space for downtown, with a great deal of versatility,” Thompson says. “The connection we’ll be able to make with the local restaurants and shops will help both CRT and downtown Cortland to thrive”.