Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Vera Scarbrough, Morgan County Educator and Princess Theatre Restoration Committee board member, organized a tour of the Princess Complex for Roane and Morgan County educators, who met at 1PM today in the Channel 15 Studio. The distinguished group listened intently as Harriman Mayor, Chris Mason, Bill Landry, Bill Radice, and architect Frank Sparkman laid out the plan forward for the "Princess Performing Arts, Education, and Conference Center".
Restoration work, while never an exact science, is expected to end for the Princess Auditorium area by the end of June. However, the lobby, which includes the "Trailhead" area, my take a little longer. Closing the loose ends with TDOT is taking longer than expected, but should be wrapped up soon.
The educators were told that the Princess Complex is there for their students, and were encouraged to start planning for their student's use of the facility. This "state-of-the-art" facility is already providing education to area high school students. Some of the current students in Brooks Benjamin's weekly "Introduction to Film and Television" class were on hand today to attest to fact that the Complex is already paying dividends.
Outside, the precursory work for the new marquee is evident from the street. The new marquee, while retaining a similar look to the 1939 grand opening canopy, will embrace modern LED technology for lighting.
The group moved inside to witness ongoing work on the new ceiling, which hangs beneath the new substantial roof support structure. After the ceiling is in place, the lighting will be added, and then the final paint will be added to the auditorium area.
Most impressive, and it will become much more evident once the scaffolding is removed, is the enlarged Princess stage. The enhanced stage will be large enough for the most robust of dance productions, and yet intimate enough for a single spot-lighted solo act!
I was so pleased to see my new friend Steve Scarbrough in the group today. He and I ventured off into the upper reaches of the building next door to shoot some "artsy" shots of old plaster board, lighting fixtures, and vintage wallpaper that was showing through in spots. Some were 3 or 4 layers deep into past history!
I can hardly wait to see his shots, and possibly read his take on the "plan forward". I even offer him post space here if he so wishes.
Come on folks...get excited about it! Lay aside your politics and special interest and just be happy for our children. If something like this had been around when I was a teenager, I wouldn't have had to let fate decide my destiny.
How blessed they are!