Grantville auditorium gets restoration grant

Jeffrey Cullen-Dean / The Newnan Times-Herald

Johnny Cooks, left, and Scott Palmer discuss the changes that will be made to the Sara O’Kelley Auditorium during the building’s restoration.

The city of Grantville has received a $32,190 grant from the Fox Theatre Institute for the restoration of the Sara O’Kelley Auditorium.

The grant is the first issued by the institute in the city of Grantville and Coweta County.

“The FTI is a committee of the Fox and we’ve been helping older theaters for more than 10 years,” said Carolyn Lee Wills, a board member of FTI. “We always look at how they’ll continue using the building. You can’t just fix it and let it sit there. The theater is important in smaller towns.”

According to Al Grieshaber, Grantville’s city manager, the grant money will be used for planning the auditorium’s redevelopment.

Lord Aeck Sargent, an architecture and design firm, was approved by the city of Grantville to create the plans for the redevelopment.

“They’ve given us a planning grant to plan the restoration of it,” Grieshaber said. “LAS has developed a draft, along with a cost estimate to redevelop the building.”

Karen Gravel, a principal architect at LAS, said the plans include repainting the auditorium, restoring the building’s columns, restoring the floor and windows and installing new heating and air conditioning systems.

“We’re developing next steps,” she said. “It’d be a great venue to add to the repertoire of the county.”

The city of Grantville is looking for more funding to complete the auditorium restoration, said Grieshaber.

“It will be a work in progress seeking grants and other money to restore the Sara O’Kelley Auditorium,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

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