Springfield hires architect for Mars expansion

The City of Springfield has hired an architectural firm to oversee expansion of the back-stage area of the Mars Theatre.

Council members agreed Jan. 10 to pay DPR Architecture of Statesboro $17,000 to design plans and oversee bidding and construction of the project.

DPR Architecture recently completed the historic renovation of the Tybee Island Theater. Among the firm’s many projects, it also has designed multiple historic courthouse renovations.

City Manager Brett Bennett said the plans should be done this spring and most of the construction should be done from September through December.

The historic movie theater that the city renovated and opened in April 2014 has no changing rooms, storage or restrooms in the stage area. Performers must use make-shift changing rooms at City Hall and walk across the parking lot to the theater.

The budget for the construction would be up to $250,000, which would come from the penny-per-dollar sales tax.

Bennett said the theater has been doing better financially than expected.

Most of the Mars’ funding comes from ticket and concession sales and sponsorships, with the remainder coming from the city’s general fund.

The amount the city has had to supplement the Mars revenue has been declining each year. Bennett said Springfield contributed about $80,000 to the theater’s operation in 2015, $60,000 in 2016 and he expects it will add from $40,000 to $50,000 in 2017.

That’s out of a total 2017 Mars budget of $323,000.

The theater is doing better at getting sponsorships and figuring out what concerts are bigger moneymakers.

“In two more years, my goal and feeling is that we can break even,” he said.

On another topic, council members agreed that some revisions need to be made to the solid waste ordinance, to better explain where trash and recycling cans can be stored when they are not at the street for pickup.

Bennett said all of the $110 citations issued in recent weeks for failing to pull in the cans have been reduced to warnings. He said the goal is to get people to comply, not to collect fines for the city.

Also on Jan. 10, council members again chose Kenny Usher as mayor pro tem.

They also set qualifying fees for November’s election as $25 for council members and $35 for mayor. Up for election this fall are seats held by Mayor Barty Alderman and council members Charles Hinely, Jerry Maennche and Kenny Usher.

Qualifying is Aug. 21-25.

Posted January 17, 2017 10:46 pm – Updated January 18, 2017 11:56 am

By:  G.G. Rigsby, Effingham Now (Savannah Morning News)

Link: http://savannahnow.com/effingham-now-news/2017-01-17/springfield-hires-architect-mars-expansion