The Dirt: Spokane Civic Theatre moves forward with expansion project

Spokane Civic Theatre is moving forward with a multimillion-dollar expansion project that will bring several updates to its building north of the Spokane River.

Spokane-based Cortner Architectural Co. filed a pre-development application with the city last week to build a 4,000-square-foot addition to the 17,000-square-foot theater at 1020 N. Howard St.

Spokane Civic Theatre is planning a soundproofing project, and in that process it gained opportunity to “optimize” the building by adding a dedicated arts education space, multipurpose rehearsal space, modifications to the studio theater and updates for ADA accessibility, according to the nonprofit organization’s website.

The project is part of the Spokane Civic Theatre’s modernization plan 1CIVIC, which is a $10 million to $20 million capital campaign meant to bring the organization’s functions under one roof.

“With all the development that is happening around the North Bank, we just felt the timing was right to really address this and come up with renovations and an addition to take the Civic Theatre into the next 60 years,” said Jim Cortner, architect for the project.

The project is estimated to cost between $16 million to $20 million, according to the application.

The theater has not yet set a groundbreaking date, as its dependent on project funding, Cortner said.

The campaign will be funded by local, state and national grants, corporate sponsors, multiyear pledges and a grassroots initiative.

The application did not list a contractor for the project.

Spokane Civic Theatre, founded in 1947, is one of a few community theaters that owns its own building and land, according to its website.

The nonprofit organization staged performances at the Post Street Theater and the Riverside Playhouse until its Howard Street facility opened in 1967.

In 1972, the Howard Street building, designed by Moritz Kundig, underwent renovations that included a three-story addition as well as creation of scene and costume shops and a space that later became the Firth J Chew Studio Theatre.

The facility also houses the Main Stage theater, with a seating capacity of 339 people, while the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre has seating for 88, according to the organization’s website.


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Article by Amy Edelen