While the beautifully restored exterior of the Tibbits Opera House has become a point of pride for the community and the state, Tibbits officials recognize there is more work to be done and have proceeded with an architectural study of the current plans.
The architectural study was funded through support of grants from the Coldwater Sunrise Rotary of the Branch County Community Foundation and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund within the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additional funds for the study came from cost savings during Phase 3—the façade restoration. Architect Tom Roberts, who led the restoration of the exterior, prepared the study.
The architectural study began with a reassessment of the 2002 design development plans and a review of the work done in the first three phases as well as the smaller projects completed on the building. The study considered current needs and needs for the future operation and growth of Tibbits. It considered both the professional and community uses of the building and maintaining the theatre as a center for arts and culture, education, tourism and community use. The final report prioritizes the needs and presents plans for continued phased restoration of the theatre. As with decisions made on the façade, the intent is preservation and long term sustainability of not only the building but the programming it provides.
The study utilized the expertise of theatre consultants and engineers: Schuler and Shook, Threshold Acoustics, Potapa-Van Hoosear Engineering, TAC Associates and Owen-Ames-Kimball Construction.
According to Tibbits executive director, “The study becomes the guide for the board as it plans for continued restoration, as well as continued growth in the programs and services we provide to our community.”
Brian Hodson, president of the Tibbits Board says, “We have come a long way with strengthening the Tibbits organization, building our programming, providing accessibility and restoring the building as a point of pride.” He adds, “It’s important to remain attentive to the community’s needs and the long term viability of Tibbits as we proceed. That takes careful planning which is where we are now.”
Those interested in learning more or becoming involved in the planning process should contact Sarah Zimmer at restoration@Tibbits.org or 517-278-6029. Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 South Hanchett Street, Coldwater Michigan.
Cutline: The restoration of the exterior of the historic Tibbits Opera House has garnered attention and pride and picked up preservation awards including the Governor’s Award, the Michigan Historic Preservation Gem Award, and the Association of Building and Contractors. A recent architectural study provides an important tool for Tibbits Board of Directors as they plan for continued restoration.
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Cutline: Faithfully restored façade of Tibbits Opera House