FARGO — The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre is asking for help from the Fargo Park District in expanding the theater's footprint in Island Park.
The subject was explored during a meeting Wednesday, April 29, of the park district's facilities committee, which heard from FMCT officials regarding their plans for The Stage at Island Park, 333 Fourth St. S.
First on the theater's list of priorities is rebuilding the structure's roof, which suffered damage in December when a beam cracked.
A day after the damage was discovered, the city of Fargo deemed the building dangerous and required all staff to vacate the building immediately. A consultant later determined the roof, structural beams and catwalks needed to be replaced.
Along with the roof work, FMCT is looking to add a small "black box community theatre" to the west side of the current structure.
Other aspects to the remodel/expansion include new classroom space, additional storage and theater support space, as well as relocating administrative offices.
The expansion plan would require an additional 11,000 square feet of land from the park district.
FMCT Executive Director Eloise Breikjern told park district officials the 52-year-old theater is "well worn" and in addition to adding a black box theater, which would be used for things like rehearsals and smaller productions, FMCT is looking to upgrade lighting and sound systems.
Park district officials appeared open to the idea of allowing the theater to expand further into the park, but said potential impacts would need to be reviewed. One example: organizers said the plan could require the removal of three to five trees.
Theater officials said they'd like to have a park district decision on the question sooner rather than later, as things like fundraising will hinge on the answer.
The park district and FMCT had previously come to agreement on expanding the theater's footprint in 1984 and 1994, but the work never materialized, Park District Executive Director Dave Leker said. He said if the district agrees to modify its lease agreement with FMCT, it likely would not result in additional cost to the theater.
Organizers of the projects planned for the theater said the roof work will happen regardless of what comes of the expansion plans, and Breikjern said she is optimistic about the fundraising needed to complete what FMCT hopes to do.
"This is something the community wants," she said.