Grant helps ‘Take a Seat’ campaign
From Staff Reports
Madisonville — Hiwassee College is receiving a $250,000 grant from the Clayton Family Foundation that will provide funding over two years for renovation of the college’s auditorium.
As the largest performance space in Monroe County, the auditorium has been an integral part of the community for more than 40 years.
It is slated to undergo improvements to preserve its acoustics and enhance the experience of performers and audience members, as well as update the aging infrastructure.
A statement from Hiwassee College said the grant is a major boost for the ongoing “Take a Seat” capital campaign that began last summer with help from the Monroe Area Council for the Arts (MACA) and several community leaders.
The college recently completed Phase One of the planned renovations by making modifications to the stage and the auditorium’s heating and cooling system. New construction over what had originally been the orchestra pit resulted in a major upgrade of the stage’s performance space, safety, and appearance.
21st century space
The upgrading of its HVAC and stage façade is the first step in a renovation plan that will transform the Hiwassee College auditorium into a 21st century performance space.
New seating, paint, carpeting, sound, lighting and other upgrades will result in a new look and feel.
Hiwassee College President Dr. Robin Tricoli said, “The current 949 seats are original to the auditorium when it opened in 1969. They will be replaced with more suitable, movie-theater style chairs that are larger in size and maroon in color. We are also making improvements to handicapped accessibility.”
Phase Two of the renovation will begin in May and will involve extensive construction. It is scheduled for completion by mid-August, 2013, in order to welcome students for the fall semester.
“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in a relatively short period of time, but we can do it,” Tricoli said.
Clayton Family Foundation’s Executive Director Jeannie Campbell said the foundation is “a proud supporter of Hiwassee College,” and is pleased that the auditorium will continue to be a major performance venue for the college and the community well into the future.
Apart from the Clayton Family Foundation grant, about $100,000 has been raised from the community, including additional grants from the Bricker Family Fund and the Grubb-Sumner Fund of Monroe County (through the East Tennessee Foundation), and the George R. Johnson Family Foundation in Cleveland.
“We depend on the generosity of alumni and our donors to provide a quality Christian, liberal-arts, college education. We are very pleased by the generosity of so many good people in our community,” Tricoli said.
The “Take a Seat” campaign is still under way and the public is invited to participate. Names of donors or a donor’s loved one or honoree will be engraved on a permanent plaque that will be installed in the auditorium’s lobby. Each sponsored seat is $150.
For more information, call the Hiwassee College Office of Institutional Advancement at 423-420-1222.