COEUR d'ALENE - With 50 years behind it, the Lake City Playhouse continues to stand strong.
Perhaps better than ever, thanks to a $150,000 renovation that's on schedule to be completed this year.
The significance of the project is clear, said George Green, Playhouse artistic director.
"Simply put, it means that our community will have theater that it can be proud of," he said Tuesday.
This season, the Playhouse has increased attendance, is operating on a balanced budget, and the production caliber is of "extremely high merit."
"When the building renovation is finished, patron comfort as well as the overall theater experience will be greatly improved," Green said.
There are upgrades both inside and outside the community building on Garden Avenue.
Workers started installing a new roof Tuesday. New siding, new landscaping that features a fountain and a new parking lot will be completed this summer.
Inside, the Playhouse added stage video monitors to remodeled dressing rooms. Next, bathrooms will be completely renovated and the kitchen area will see new counter tops and flooring within the next few weeks.
The auditorium floor refinishing as well as seating reupholstering is slated for July. New lighting is planned in the auditorium as well, and finally, there will be updates to the fire suppression system and repairs to the foundation. A new concrete and tiled entryway will highlight the front.
Work began last summer and is targeted for completion on Sept. 15, prior to launching the 51st season with "Fiddler on the Roof."
"I feel like with the foundation we're laying this season, the community can expect to see a strong representation of community theater for 50 years to come," Green said.
He said the building is more than 50 years old and needed improvements "to be safe and comfortable."
The overall cost of the project to the Playhouse "is minimal" thanks to the generosity of contractors and companies that have donated services.
"It really is an impressive accomplishment," he said.
"To put this in perspective, the roof is $30,000. The only costs that the theater is incurring are the costs of permitting and some hard materials, he said. "Thus far, we have not exceeded $2,000 of expenses from our own budget."
He said the Playhouse, which has had past financial woes, continues to operate the current season on a "very balanced budget."
"We are slowly reducing the past debts and are not incurring new ones," he said.
"The Scarlet Letter," directed by Green, is showing through April 3 at the Lake City Playhouse.