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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Curtain Up! Proctors, UPH Confirm Working Relationship

By | Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS – As exclusively reported by Saratoga TODAY in its June 8, 2012 issue, the heads of Saratoga Springs’ Universal Preservation Hall (UPH) and Schenectady’s Proctors Theater confirmed the beginning of what they both hope will be a permanent working relationship that will lead to both upgraded facilities and programming.

 

Flanked by board members from both organizations as well as regional civic leaders, as well as Reverend Minnie L. Burns of the Universal Baptist Church, UPH board president Dorothy “Teddy” Foster and Proctors CEO Philip Morris both looked optimistic and elated to announce that the first step will be to begin a two-stage feasibility study next week that will lead to what Mr. Morris characterized as “a business plan that will give a realistic assessment as to what must be accomplished.”

It is estimated that about $3 million must still be raised to complete UPH’s renovation work, which Ms. Foster said would include essential items like “HVAC, an elevator, fire escape and sprinklers” in addition to other items that will make the facility amenable to a greater range of programming.

The first phase is to begin next month by Webb Management Services of New York City. Topics that will be studied include an environmental scan and market review, budgeting and related items. Webb will also do an outreach survey to the public to determine what they would like to see programming-wise from a built-out UPH. A second study by the North Group, Inc. will assess the fundraising potential of a UPH/Proctors partnership in order to complete the needed renovations. The total cost of these studies was estimated by Mr. Morris at $32,000, of which both UPH and Proctors contributed a share – the balance being funded by a broad base of entities including Bonacio Construction, Adirondack Trust Company and The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. When asked as to a timetable for completion of these studies, Mr. Morris said he hoped to have them completed by January, 2013.

In her remarks, Ms. Foster acknowledged that “rumors of Proctors’ interest in the future of UPH captured imaginations and attracted funding for the feasibility study from an array of area philanthropists and businesses.”

Still up in the air is the outcome of this pending marriage, specifically, if all goes well, who exactly will own UPH? Mr. Morris said, in effect, that the answer is TBA and will emerge from the studies and other activities.

But this was a day to be optimistic about the future expansion of the arts in Saratoga Springs. The day could have had many outcomes. As Charles Wait, President of The Adirondack Trust Company, remarked, “Those of you who are visiting for the first time have no idea how close this building was to collapsing.”

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