Standing majestically at the corner of Lakeview Drive and Wood Street, is the oldest public building in Sugar Land. Designed by Imperial Sugar Company in 1918, the beautiful auditorium, which received a historical marker in 1993, once served as the site for silent movies, graduations, plays, church services, dances, recitals, band concerts, and many other community events.
Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation (SLCAF) is pleased to announce that Phase II renovations (including exterior renovations, a backstage addition and beautification of the property) of the old auditorium are nearing completion — helping to restore it to the splendor of its early days — and planning has begun for the grand opening of the newly renovated cultural arts center, to be held in early fall.
The interior of the auditorium was completely renovated in 2004 and captured the essence of the original. The wooden floor and the original armrests of the seats were refinished, and new chair backs were installed, as well as handicap seating. Heating and air conditioning systems were installed by FBISD, owner of the property. Dozens of acoustical panels were installed along with state of the art sound and lighting systems.
After interior renovations were completed, the foundation shifted its focus to renovating the exterior and adding a much-needed backstage area for performing arts groups. The current construction project, which has been underway for the last nine months, includes a climate controlled storage room for the grand piano, loading dock and handicap access to the stage; and a green room, dressing rooms and restroom facilities for performers.
The exterior renovations were extensive including a new roof, refurbished windows and doors (both funded by FBISD bond money), as well as repaired, re-plastered and painted exterior walls. Installation of new steps, walkways and lighting enhance the beauty of the grounds. In addition, a historic feature, the rooftop balustrade, was recreated bringing back the original exterior look of the building. The SLCAF is currently reviewing plans for an irrigation system and landscaping which will be completed before the end of summer.
The SLCAF Programming Committee is working on lining up quality performances that will be open to the community. In addition, the auditorium will be used by FBISD for performances as well as individuals and groups that have begun requesting rental dates for private and public events. Rental fees offset the costs to operate the auditorium and all proceeds benefit the SLCAF, a nonprofit organization. For more information about the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation, please contact Executive Director Donna Hine at (281)898-4518 or donna@SLCAF.org