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Ice house to stay open during facelift

November 01, 2004|by TRISH RUDDER/Staff Writer

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - Theater productions will continue as renovations to the Ice House building go on, Morgan Arts Council Ice House Director J.W. Rone said.

"Keeping it open and keeping all the programs going is important to the community," Rone said last week. "People lose interest if you close down."

Demolition work continues on the south wall and a structural engineer is always on the job, Rone said. When renovations started on the wall, problems were discovered and the only choice was to remove the wall.

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"Hopefully, the demolition will be done by Thanksgiving, and then they will start on the roof," he said.

The original building was constructed in 1911, and in 1923, a new addition was built on the west side. A wooden roof was installed, and over the years, the roof deteriorated and caused leaks and damage.

"A new wall will be constructed at the south end of the addition, both the south and west section of the 1923 addition will be sheathed in metal, and a new roof put on," said Rone, the project manager for the renovation. The new roof will be made of steel, he said. The outside should be completed by summer, Rone said. Erectors Plus, a Winchester, Va., contractor is doing the outside work, he said.

The inside work will begin once the outside is finished. Arts Council board members plan to develop the three upper floors for classrooms, galleries and individual artist studios, Rone said.

The space-use plan was approved by the Morgan Arts Council board last Monday, Rone said.

"We want the entire building filled with arts business," he said.

The Morgan Arts Council received a $450,000 cultural facilities grant last month from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts for the interior work at the Ice House. Rone said Commission on the Arts member Troy Body told him the Ice House is one of the most exciting arts projects in the state.

Matching funds are required for the grant and the Morgan Arts Council started its first capital fund-raising campaign last February, he said.

During the last four years, the Morgan Arts Council received cultural facilities grants of $300,000 from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and has matched the funding. Rone estimates the project will cost about $1.8 million and take 3 to 5 years to complete.

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