Restoration Timeline

Early Efforts to Save the Woodward

The Woodward Opera House restoration project can trace its roots to the 1970s.  The Knox County Landmarks Foundation (formerly the Knox County Renaissance Foundation) initiated the early efforts to save this historic gem by developing community interest in the theater.  Many individuals contributed their time and energy to the Woodward, especially in establishing its place as the oldest authentic 19th century theater in the United States.  Local historians such as Gail Peelman and Peter Dickson conducted in depth historical research for the Woodward to make this claim.

In 1995, a group of forward thinking artists and arts oriented citizens created the Knox Partnership for Arts & Culture (KPAC).  Their original mission was to support the arts throughout Knox County, beginning with the restoration of the Woodward Opera House.  They envisioned developing the theater into a state-of-the-art performing arts facility.  KPAC continues to play an important role in the Woodward's story by advocating and managing the performing and visual arts usage of the theater and other usable spaces.

The Woodward Development Corporation

The Woodward Development Corporation (WDC) was established in 1996 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit for the purpose of purchasing and managing the Woodward Opera House restoration.  This volunteer organization is led by a board of trustees.  Board members are community leaders who have a strong influence in Knox County's business districts, arts programs, social development, and civic organizations.

WDC has conducted detailed structural analysis of both the Woodward and Annex buildings, as well as additional historic research.  These studies revealed how the buildings evolved over time, as well as determined the best approach to take in the Woodward's restoration and the Annex's rehabilitation.

The WDC Board of Trustees acts as the landlord to business tenants in the Woodward and Annex buildings.  It manages the day-to-day business of the project.  It plans for, and oversees, the long term Woodward restoration.  KPAC has developed plans for the community arts portion of the Woodward complex, and will oversee the visual and performing arts facilities.

Tax Credit Funding

The Woodward Opera House’s restoration would not have been possible without the assistance of State and Federal historic tax credits. But what exactly is a tax credit? A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of taxes owed. This means that the end cost of restoring the Woodward is greatly diminished as a result of receiving not one, but four different historic tax credits:

• Federal New Market Tax Credit
• State New Market Tax Credit
• Federal Historic Tax Credit
• State Historic Tax Credit

The Woodward Development Corporation (WDC) is a non-profit entity. To qualify for tax credits, WDC must partner with for-profit entities that have a “taxable income,” because you cannot receive tax credits if you do not pay taxes. The for-profit entity partners provide the WDC with a majority of the credit in the form of a grant. These are the funds that will ultimately pay for the Woodward Opera House complex’s completion.

Just how much money will the Woodward restoration project receive as a result of these historic tax credits? WDC will net over $10 million that will be directly applied to the Woodward building’s restoration.

The IRS requires a specific organizational structure. This new structure has impacted, and will continue to impact, the Woodward restoration project for at least seven years. At the end of the tax credit period, the for-profit partners will dismantle, and the non-profit WDC will once again become sole owner of the Woodward Opera House complex and any future projects.

The two charts below provide a visual of how the WDC was organized before the tax credits, and how it will be organized for the next seven years because of the historic tax credits. After seven years, the organization of the WDC will go back to the original ownership model.

 

tcmodel sept2015  tcmodel jan2016

 

 

Quick Facts

Historic Significance of the Woodward

Research has shown that the Woodward is America’s Oldest Authentic 19th Century Theater still standing (there are no original pre-19th century theaters in America). Updated historical investigation has moved the first definitive event date in the Woodward Hall back to at least December 8-10, 1851, a lecture on electricity by Dr. J. F. Boynton.

 

National Ranking of the Woodward

The Woodward is the recipient of two federal “Save America’s Treasures” (SAT) grants. This particular grant is only for those projects recognized as being of national historic significance. Receipt of the grant is competitive and is measured against all other national projects from every part of the preservation universe. As a result, VERY FEW preservation projects receive SAT funding.

  • The Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant program, started in 1999, has awarded 908 grants to 897 projects in the United States through 2006.  The SAT grant program was discontinued in 2010, but this does not affect projects who received grants in 2010 or before.
  • The Woodward Opera House ranks 15th out of the 897 projects selected nationally in the award amount granted ($1,035,941).
  • The Woodward Opera House ranks 2nd out of 45 Ohio projects selected in the award amount granted ($1,035,941).
  • The Woodward Opera House is one of only 11 projects selected nationally to receive two SAT grant awards.
  • The Woodward Opera House is the only project in Ohio to receive two SAT grant awards.

 

Phase 3X is COMPLETE - Partial Second Floor Restoration

The second floor restoration was 50% completed (300 sf) in 2012 to accommodate the offices of the Woodward Development Corporation and the Knox County Convention & Visitors Bureau as part of the sequencing of the final project completion.  As part of this effort, the third story floor/second story ceiling was reinforced for final structural requirements in the theater space.  Reproductions of wallpaper found in the Woodward were completed and hung in the second floor office spaces in December of 2013.

 

Phase 4 is Next - Theater Restoration & Annex Expansion Phase

The interior of the theater will be authentically restored. Additional structure will be added to the facility in the rear portion of the annex building permitting access to the stage area, adding arts support space, and permitting the addition of accessible elevators and required stairwells. The State of Ohio has awarded the project a $1.2 million grant for this portion of the project. Theater will be operational when done.

 

 

Energy Saving Objectives

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

The basic plan for the HVAC system will be provided by geothermal well water (two wells under the Vine Street sidewalk), driving a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heating and cooling system.  By operating at varying speeds, VRF units work only at the needed rate, allowing for substantial energy savings at partial-load conditions.  Heat recovery VRF technology allows individual indoor units to heat or cool as required.  Energy savings up of up to 55% are predicted over traditional HVAC equipment.  Where required outside makeup air enters the HVAC system, it will be tempered using low energy heat exchangers.  In addition, CO2 sensors will regulate the need for makeup air, drastically reducing the consumption of energy to moderate the incoming outside air in all seasons.

In the large opera house audience chamber with its high ceilings, hydronic floor heart will be used.  It will reduce energy consumption by delivering heat to the floor area where people are and not heating air near the ceiling.

Water

Hot water for space heating and potable water heating will be generated using a 96% efficient hot water modulated boiler system.

Modulating circulating pumps will regulate water flow throughout the building, reducing energy consumption based on need and time of day.

Devices such as toilet fixtures that do not require potable water will be fed by geothermal discharge waste water, thereby minimizing the use of the city potable treated water.

Construction

Interior storm windows will be used to save energy and block reduce outside noise while preserving the historic integrity of the window matrix.  Where window replacement is required, high energy windows will be used.

All materials that are made available from demolition process will be preserved and reused to the greatest extent possible in the restoration project.  In addition, the project objectives dictate that in the historic portions of the project, all existing elements of the building that can remain and/or be reused will remain and/or be reused.

The complete project will allow for an aggressive recycling program to be implemented within the combination of the facility occupancy and tenants alike.

Lighting

All common light fixtures will be of LED or hi-efficiency florescent design.  LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources, including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching.  Lamps for historic fixtures will also be LED wherever available and practical.  All new theatrical systems will be of the LED type, wherever available and practical.  All supporting dimming and control equipment will be of the low energy consumption type.

Sound

All sound systems will be state-of-the-art, low energy consumption equipment.

Electricity Source

While not in the current project, we are investigating installing a photo voltaic array on the annex roof to provide some of the electricity required to operate the complex.

Project Overview

Roof

COMPLETE - Reinforced all roof trusses. Installed beams to elevate roof slightly to re-introduce the soffit overhang, fascia, and gutters; installed new high quality raised seam Kynar finished galvanized metal roof; stabilized two masonry walls.

 

1st Floor Woodward - Retail Rehabilitation & Building Stabilization

COMPLETE - Installed new water service, electric service, rewired renovated areas, HVAC systems; Reinforced floor joist structures; Rehabilitated three interior first story retail stores and brought all portions up to current codes. This also includes part of Phase 9 with the Local Food Program which opened the retail portion of the store at the end of 2012.

 

Abatement (2006-2007)

COMPLETE - Asbestos removal was completed in 2006.  The remainder of Phase 3 is also complete (2007), which included, but was not limited to: complete removal of Lead Base Paint (LBP) from exterior Woodward masonry; and the restoration of the exterior portion of the Woodward window frames and sashes, exterior window hoods, exterior masonry (repointing) and decorative brackets and wood trim in the soffit areas.

 

Partial Second Floor Restoration

IN PROCESS - The second floor restoration was 50% completed (3000 sf) in 2012 to accommodate the offices of the Woodward Development Corp. and the Knox County Convention & Vistors Bureau as part of the sequencing of the final project completion. As part of this effort, the third story floor/second story ceiling was reinforced for final structural requirements.  Reproductions of wallpaper found in the Woodward were completed and hung in the second floor office spaces in December of 2013.

 

Theater Restoration & Annex Expansion

The interior of the theater will be authentically restored. Additional structure will be added to the facility in the rear portion of the annex building permitting access to the stage area, adding arts supports space, and permitting the addition of accessible elevators and required stairwells. The theater will be operational when Phase 4 is complete.

Annex Rehabilitation

This phase will result in a completed Annex, except for certain basement area spaces. Reconfiguration of restaurant spaces, and construction of lobby storefronts.

Woodward 2nd Floor and Storefront Restoration

This phase will result in the completion of the Woodward Building historic storefronts and restored historic interiors on the second story and mezzanine levels.

Historic Annex Offices Restoration

The Annex will have restored interior office spaces.

Basement Retail and Areaways Restoration

Both the Opera House and the Annex will feature operational basement retail areas with restored exterior areaways and storefronts.

Local Food Program

A portion of the retail and basement space will be used to provide a grocery store, food processing facility, and a full service kitchen.  A portion of this phase has been initiated with the opening of the grocery store in December 2012.

 

Contact Information

The Woodward Opera House,

107 South Main Street
Mount Vernon, OH 43050

(740) 392-6102
(800) 837-5282

[email protected]

Mission

Engage arts and community leadership to authentically restore the Woodward Opera House into a fully functional theater operation, develop the overall Woodward facility into a contemporary self-sustaining arts center for community interaction, become a catalyst for excellence in education, encourage civic engagement, and enrich the quality of life in the Mount Vernon ~ Knox County, Ohio area.

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