The amphitheater planned for New Albany is official.
New Albany City Council on Aug. 6 voted 6-0 to approve a resolution authorizing City Manager Joseph Stefanov to enter a lease agreement with the New Albany-Plain Local School District for the amphitheater land.
Council member Mike Durik was absent.
Construction of the amphitheater, planned adjacent to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts at 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road and the district campus, could begin this fall and conclude by next fall, according to an Aug. 6 legislative report for council members.
The New Albany Community Foundation has been working toward acquiring funding for the facility and is close to beginning construction, Stefanov said.
The estimated cost of construction for the amphitheater is $7 million.
“It’s been a number of years in the making,” he said.
Plans and fundraising for the amphitheater started taking shape in 2016.
According to the legislative report, the amphitheater will be built by the New Albany Community Authority and primarily will be funded by grants, naming opportunities and money raised by the community foundation.
The community authority was established in 1992 by the Franklin County commissioners at the request of the New Albany Co. to finance “designated community projects,” according to newalbanycommunityauthority.org. An example is Fodor Road, the website said.
Craig Mohre, executive director of the community foundation, said the community authority will work with the construction manager during the project but will not fund it.
“They’re a conduit,” he said.
The community authority served in the same way for the design of the amphitheater, as well as the construction of the McCoy, he said.
The community foundation also continues to fundraise, Mohre said. It has received $5.2 million in commitments toward the project thus far, he said.
The facility still is expected to be named the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater in recognition of the Hinson family’s $500,000 donation a few years ago, he said.
Other naming opportunities for donations are available in the form of bricks, trees or the stage, Mohre said.
After the amphitheater is constructed, the city will own it, according to the legislative report.
Although fall construction is the goal for the project, that plan depends upon “a lot of factors,” Mohre said.
Stefanov said the resolution approved Aug. 6 formally designates a home for the amphitheater.
New Albany-Plain Local Superintendent Michael Sawyers said a similar resolution is scheduled for discussion and proposed action at the school board meeting scheduled Monday, Aug. 12.
The amphitheater site is approximately 3.65 acres owned by the district, he said.
By building the amphitheater near the McCoy and New Albany Middle School, students can use the facility for a variety of fine-arts topics, Sawyers said.
For example, if an arts festival were to be held there, students could participate as performers or actors on stage, he said.
The proximity to the McCoy also will allow the facilities to share programs, Stefanov said.
For example, the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, which plays at the McCoy, could add some outdoor concerts after an amphitheater is built near the McCoy, according to executive director Heather Garner.
CAPA, which is an acronym for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, manages programs at the McCoy and would be asked to do the same for the amphitheater.
Stefanov said he anticipates bringing another piece of legislation to council members next month for CAPA’s programming role for the amphitheater.
Council members also could vote on other matters regarding the project.
“I expect several additional pieces of legislation,” he said.
The lease offer the city has prepared for the district would be for 50 years, with an option for renewal, Stefanov said.
The facility’s annual estimated maintenance cost will be $25,000 to $30,000, based on information provided by CAPA and the city of Westerville, which also has an amphitheater, the legislative report said.
The community foundation sought a construction manager for the project in June, Mohre said. Corna Kokosing Construction Co. is expected to be the choice, he said.
Another step for the project, Mohre said, was a meeting Aug. 12 with the New Albany Architectural Review Board for an informal review of the amphitheater design.
The architecture firm for the amphitheater, DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky, showed renderings of how the amphitheater could look.
The facility would have about 800 seats, comprising lawn, VIP and exedra areas, said Todd Mayher, project manager associate with DLR Group. The VIP and exedra areas are ADA accessible, and the lawn also has an ADA-accessible area, he said.
The amphitheater itself is anticipated to be colored green, said DLR Group project manager Clyde Twine, and a vine system on the building facade is expected to grow to maturity in three to five years. A trellis system that covers the exedra seating also is expected to mature in that time, he said.
At 7 p.m. Sept. 9, the ARB is scheduled to review an application for the project, said city planner Stephen Mayer.
The ARB is the only public board before which the project is required to be heard, Mayer said. City Council, for example, doesn’t have to vote on the project design, he said.
Other steps for the building process include submitting engineering plans for city staff members to review and obtaining a building permit, Mayer said.