Since 2019 nearly a half million dollars have been raised toward the capital campaign to restore the historic Midland Theater in downtown Coffeyville. As a result, the first of four projects in the Fund-Build-Use strategy, called Secure the Shell, has been completed largely due to a grant from the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund.
“The first project completed in 2020 was to protect the building from the elements, or basically to ‘Secure the Shell’ which amounted to an exterior restoration,” said Darrel Harbaugh, president of the Midland Theater Foundation. “This phase included repairing and replacing exterior doors and windows, installing a new fire escape, tuckpointing some masonry, restoring the marquee, and a fresh new coat of paint.”
The second project is the Front of House and will restore the ticket booth, lobby, foyer, concession area, second-floor ballroom and restrooms, and the offices at the front of the theater. This project will also use some of the front office space to install two ADA restrooms to enable the theater to be accessible to everyone. While we raised the money we originally thought would be needed, we revised our plans to include two ADA restrooms in the Midland rather than in the adjacent Alamo building so that the Midland will be self-sustaining. That change in plans and increased construction costs has created a gap in our fundraising efforts.
Much of the funding for the second phase was provided by charter donors – those individuals, families, and businesses who provided support of $10,000 or more. The initial Charter donations were matched with funds from the Pratt Family Charitable Fund. Also, a grant of $100,000 from the Sunderland Foundation was recently announced and will help fund the project’s third phase, the “Backstage”.
According to Peggy Steele, co-chairman of the fundraising committee, the plan is to complete that funding by the end of this year. This will allow both the front and back of the theater to be open for small performances and events by the end of 2022.
Other opportunities to support the Midland include the Standing Ovation program for local small businesses. Also, individuals and families may sponsor seats through the Take a Seat program.
The fourth and final stage of the theater project is the main auditorium also known as the “House”. This project is the largest in terms of cost and construction. Fundraising for this project will begin in early 2022.
“The repurposing of the Midland will not only result in traditional forms of entertainment such as film and theater, but also educational offerings, streaming, and community events,” Steele said. “With multiple venues, including the ballroom, large stage area, lobby, and auditorium, we will be able to offer an exciting menu of diverse choices.”
Completion of the capital campaign, construction, eventual staffing, and reopening of the historic theater is projected by 2028 – the 100th anniversary of the Midland Theater’s original opening in 1928.
To provide a contribution and have your names, and the names of family members or loved ones, added to the lobby donor wall, please visit www.historicmidlandtheater.com.