Georgia College Associate Professor of Marketing Renee Fontenot presented Milledgeville City Council with a repurposing proposal for the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Community Business & Arts Development Center last month. The innovation hub will provide a shared space for a wide range of activities fostering the development of community economic potential, according to the proposal’s mission statement. The 93,000 square-foot facility could harbor a community theater, convention center, manufacturing facilities, a production kitchen, art studio, office spaces and tech hub as a few services outlined within the proposal.
The 250-seat theater project, costing upward of $200,000, will be the first project built in the center taking up 12,000 square feet. The floor plan for the space includes a 1,500 square foot lobby area with restrooms, bar and snack counter, and ticketing, which leads to 4,500 square feet of seating space and a 1,000 square foot stage. The area will also house an orchestra pit, full backstage rehearsal space, dressing rooms and storage.
“Our intent is to make it an intimate theater so the audience gets more excited. We will start with chairs and possible seating later depending on how things progress. We want to keep the floor as flexible as possible to leave it open for concerts and possibly expand it for a small convention center for 400 people,” Geist said. “This could be a two- to three-year project depending on how things go. We’ve created a small savings to prepare for this, but we need to do immediate work on fundraising to leverage the money we have, find matching funds and in-kind commitments. We hope to put on a production there this year, but that’s being real aggressive. That doesn’t stop us from dreaming though.”
The Milledgeville Players hope to bring their initiative to the former Shaw Building to move the community forward.