Hale Centre Theatre celebrated its 30th year in Utah by breaking ground on a 130,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art theater in Sandy City earlier this month.
During a ceremony, Hale Centre Theatre leaders released plans for the new facility which will feature two stages with a total of 1,350 seats and engineering technology that will be able to lift, lower, rotate and hoist stage equipment.
Slated to open in January 2017, the new theater will improve upon the current 613-seat facility in West Valley City that has functioned at nearly full capacity since 2004.
“When we discovered we had outgrown our current theater, we were truly fortunate to find that Sandy City welcomed us with open arms,” said Mark Dietlein, Hale Centre Theatre president, CEO and co-founder.
Moving into a larger and improved facility will enable the company to increase its current performances from 400 to 500 in the opening year and eventually grow to 700 performances by 2018, said Dietlein.
Most BYU students agree they’d make the 40-minute drive to the new location if a group of friends wanted to go.
Karen Contreras, a BYU sophomore majoring in nursing who is on the BYU Salsa Dance Club Committee, said that growing up playing the cello and dancing helped her grow to love live performances. However, since she doesn’t have a car she’d only get a chance to watch a production in the new theater if a group of friends wanted to go with her.
Like Contreras, BYU freshman Paige Gifford said that she’d maybe make the trek but only if a group of people suggested it.
Construction for the new space will begin next September. The smaller of the two stages is set to open January 2017 with the larger stage opening sometime that spring.
But with large space comes an even larger bill. The new facility’s projected cost is approximately $65 million. Sandy City has already marketed a $42.7 million bond, which will be repaid by the theater in about 27 years. Sandy City will technically own the facility until then.
The state does have high hopes for the new theater and is even adding a new underpass to the freeway exit on 10600 South in order to service the theater’s patrons.
“We’re creating a first-rate urban experience that will be accessible to people who want to enjoy all that the nearby mountains have to offer by day and a vibrant nightlife too,” said Sandy City Mayor Dolan.
Since the bond only partially covers the actual cost of the project, the theater kicked off a public fundraising campaign at the groundbreaking ceremony. Chairman Rob Brough pleaded to patrons and friends of the arts to make their own investment to help continue their 30-year legacy of live theater productions and theater school for youth and adults.
According to Brough, during the initial private phases of the capital campaign the non-profit theater raised $15.7 million to date in cash and pledges. This leaves the theater to raise the remaining $6.5 million.
Contreras suggested for the theater to team up with local theater and production companies in order to raise the remaining funds. “I’d be more willing to donate if they created a partnership with local schools in Sandy and gave back more to the children and community,” Contreras said.