The Erie County Convention Center Authority Board of Directors voted Monday to award the project bids for the Warner Theatre and move forward with the last phase of the Warner Theatre restoration and renovation project.
“We started working on this project back in 1995. This approval serves as a big step toward finalizing the Warner Theatre’s transformation into a first-rate, 21st century performing arts center while still maintaining its historical integrity,” said Casey Wells, Executive Director of Erie Events.
The Erie community and its local leaders generously provided funding to assist with the project. Eriez Magnetics donated $1 million, Tom Hagen donated $1.5 million, and Erie Insurance pledged $500,000. Additional money for the project will be borrowed and repaid as needed.
“We’re going to have a shovel in the ground in April. We’ve got to get this started. We’ve got one shot to get this right and we’re going to do just that with the tremendous support of these donors,” Wells said.
The plans for the Warner Theatre include increasing the depth of the Warner stage with new rigging, lighting, a customized orchestra shell, and an improved sound system. It also calls for expanding dressing rooms and rehearsal space. Approximately $2 million is still needed to complete additional elements of the project and those items will be added as funding is secured.