Taylor's Opera House is getting a major upgrade.
The building on Ertel Avenue, built circa 1913, will receive a new facade and its interior is being completely renovated.
The project is expected to cost roughly $250,000.
According to Taylor City Council member Emery Vaugan, the city had ownership of the opera house for a long time, but gave it to another entity.
"They ran it for about 30 years, and just couldn't afford to maintain it," Vaugan said. "When we got it back, we tried to decide what we were going to do with it, if we were going to restore it or tear it down, or build something new."
Public input received by the city was overwhelming in favor of restoring the building.
There is a definite need to keep the building functional and available, Opera House committee member Vickie Solemsaas said.
"It is the only building in the area of some size where you could have a sizable function in it, and it has a kitchen facility, the stage," Solemsaas said. "We don't have any other buildings like that in town."
The building, though, had fallen into disrepair, Vaugan said.
It's leaky roof was replaced with a steel one. The ceiling needed liner panels. The plumbing and electrical work is being redone. It's getting a new kitchen area. And the hardwood floor is being sanded and sealed.
"As we were going along, we found floor joists that were rotted out," he said. "There's just a lot of things that, when you get into a remodel project, you find the hidden things that make the project go slower and more expensively."
The front is also being redone, using Stark Development Corporation facade improvement funds.
"We've got a vision of putting a bigger porch on the front of it and giving it that early 1900s look and appeal," Vaugan said. "We'll have a sign on it, and it will remain white. The other three sides are going to be slate gray with darker accents. And, of course, we're replacing all the cement out there."
The improved Opera House is being imagined as a community space.
"We're going to try to make this facility something community members can use for family events, possibly graduations and weddings," Vaugan said. "It will have a lot more seating capacity than some of our churches in town."
The venue will also host plays.
"We hope we can attract True North Theater to host their plays they put on. It's a community theater they have in Bismarck," Vaugan said. "If we can make things happen, we're going to do that in Taylor, also."
Local agencies will benefit from the space, as well.
"The fire department talked about possibly hosting some community events to let people know 'these are the dangers you may have in your house,'" Vaugan said. "Just a lot of different things like that. No one knows exactly what all's going to happen."
Response to the changes has been positive, Solemsaas said.
"Everybody's been very receptive toward the project. It's come together quite well," she said. "People have been very supportive."
Vaugan said he's excited to see the project progress.
"This is my baby," he said. "I'm going to make sure we do it as well as we can."
Originally planned for September, the project is expected to be finished by October.