VAN WERT — Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert is hoping to expand the facility. The center was recently notified of a $200,000 state grant to help with the cost of the expansion.
Dreams of an expansion started after the facility received $100,000 from the Lee Eisenhower estate.
“We took that money and put it aside and said, ‘Someday it would be great to be able to address the problems we have with the lack of space that we have for some of our bigger productions,’” said Paul Hoverman, director of Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Shortly after receiving the money from Lee Eisenhower, Hoverman received a call that Sen. Rob McColley wanted a tour through the center.
“I gave him a tour, and as he was standing there I said we’ve done this and we’ve done that and we’ve been successful, but I said we’re really challenged with space and someday we would like to go through the green room and add on. We need more dressing room space, and laundry facilities, we need more space for building sets and storing sets for the school. I said that eventually we’d like to do something like that. I really wasn’t fishing for this kind of fish, but he said, ‘Well, you know the state might have some facility money that we could give to something like that. But you’re about two weeks too late,’” said Hoverman.
Time went on and Hoverman set the matter aside. Sen McColley’s office called and Hoverman was told that some of the projects that the state facility money was going towards had fallen through and Hoverman had 48 hours to submit drawings and paperwork to the Senator if he wanted the state facility money. Thankfully, Hoverman had been working with architect Drew Anderson and was able to submit the proper paperwork.
“I didn’t hear anything, didn’t hear anything, didn’t hear anything. I thought, ‘Well, we tried.’ Then I opened The Lima News a little bit later on like a month later and the headlines on the front of The Lima News said something like, ‘State sets state budget.’ I thought, ‘I wonder who’s getting what.’ I looked through there and it said, ‘Niswonger Performing Arts Center $200,000’ and I thought, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Now we have $300,000, so let’s get serious about this. We’ve been talking about it and did more discussing and working with Drew on getting details down. Finally we decided we were going to make a pitch for this. If we don’t, we’re going to lose that $200,000 and we don’t want to do that. We’d like to put it to good use for all the people in Van Wert County,” said Hoverman.
The quest is on to raise additional funds for a total amount of $800,000 to $1 million. The expansion will occur on the south side of the existing building between the sidewalk and the current building and will include two additional dressing rooms with bathrooms, a laundry room, production manager’s room, multi-purpose room, drama workshop space, custodial closet and storage loft.
The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation is accepting tax deductible gifts. Payments may be accepted over three years, if the donor wishes. Naming rights to specific rooms are available, as well.
Hoverman would like to break ground on the expansion at the close of this year’s season, but that is dependent on the money being raised. The $200,000 state grant will be forfeited if the remainder of the funds are not pledged within the next twelve months.
For more information contact Paul Hoverman at 419-238-1743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.