With members of the Chamber of Commerce looking on, Webster City Community Theatre officials turned over the first few shovelfulls of soil to break ground on a 6,000-square-foot expansion to its Performing Arts Center, 1001 Willson Ave.
The theater group plans to expand to the west of the existing building, adding a three-story addition which will expand the back stage area and include a workshop/paint shop, green room, changing rooms, makeup area, restrooms and laundry. New storage space will be constructed for costumes, set pieces and props. Theater officials said new seats will also be installed in the auditorium and off-street parking will be offered.
"What you see before you is a place where magic occurs and dreams happen," WCCT President Abby Sturtevant told the onlookers. "Webster City Community Theatre's home for the past 20 years has become a place where children have grown to adults, relationships have formed and blossomed, where children have taught grownups a thing or two and where grownups have courageously set foot with a desire to fulfill a lifelong dream of performing onstage."
Doug Getter, WCCT building committee chairman and Abby Sturtevant, WCCT president, turn the first shovelfuls of soil at the ground breaking for the community theater expansion held Friday morning during the Chamber Coffee.
"Webster City is so lucky to be able to say it has a place where talent and skills can be practiced, and where play - no matter your age or experience - is encouraged," Sturtevant said. "So much good comes from this place and we are so blessed that so many have supported us through the years."
"As we break ground today for the next act in the organization's history, my hope is that WCCT can thrive and provide joy for many generations to come," she said.
Bill Greenley told those present that the project would not have been possible without the generosity of a $100,000 bequest from the Helen Johnson estate. WCCT then went on to raise an additional $176,000 from 356 other donors since December 2011.
"This is a tremendous expression of support from within the community, from organizations and benefactors that have been with WCCT on previous efforts as well as new ones," said Doug Getter, building committee chairman. The capital campaign marked the first fundraising effort by the theater troupe since 1992 when the group purchased the former Grace United Methodist Church, according to Getter. That year, the renovations were completed in time for the opening production in November.
WCCT officials said they hoped the expansion would be completed in time for its new season which opens in November. Jaycox Construction will be in charge of the project. Students in the Building and Trades classes and WCCT volunteers will also assist with the project.