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The seats in the main theater at the Latchis Theater have been drastically worn over the years. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Thursday May 23, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The seats have been ordered.

After having its fund-raising campaign for restorations to the seating and ceiling at the Latchis Theatre delayed by Tropical Storm Irene, Latchis Arts is close to reaching its goal and the project is on track.

Latchis Arts Director Gail Nunziata said about $420,000 of the approximately $550,000 needed to complete the work has been raised, enough, she said to order the seats and set the project in motion.

"We are delighted we have been able to reach this point," Nunziata said. "You do the work you need to do and follow the road map for these kind of things and hope it all falls into place. We are ready to go."

Latchis Arts wants to replace all of the seats in the main theater and refurbish the ceiling, including replacing the zodiac signs which have been damaged over the years.

The money will also be used to install new lighting and replace some of the flooring in the theater.

Nunziata said that even though the organization needs to raise another $130,000 or so it was important to order the chairs and have all of the pieces in place to follow the schedule.

She was impressed by how the project has been supported so far and said she was confident the rest of the money would be raised.

"It's amazing how this project has been embraced with the same enthusiasm we have for it," Nunziata said. "People have been supportive in so many ways."

She said the money has been donated by both large grants and individual gifts.

About $239,000 has been raised through individual donors, with another $182,000 coming in through foundations and grants.

The main theater in the historic Latchis building will close on Aug. 1 and remain closed through the first week in October.

The other three theaters at the Latchis will remain open during construction.

The closing will be kicked off with a special concert on July 31, though Nunziata said details are still being worked out for that event.

A grand opening celebration is tentatively planned for Oct. 19

"We're right on schedule," Nunziata said. "We have the money to pay for what we have committed. I assume it is all going to fall into place."

Latchis Arts was prepared to start the fund raising campaign in the summer of 2011, when Tropical Storm Irene hit and flooded Flat Street. The Latchis building received significant damage in the flood and it took almost a year to rehabilitate the building.

The group kicked off its campaign earlier this year.

"We love this building and the community has showed us that they love it too," said Nunziata. "It's a big undertaking to keep a historic building like this going and I'm glad we have all this help to make it work."

To learn more about the project, or to donate to the work, go to www.latchisarts.org.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.