WELLINGTON — Memorial Auditorium is a Wellington landmark, a nearly 100-year-old building binding the community’s past with its present and potential future.
″It’s a solid building,” Jeremy Jones, Wellington director of public works, said. “However, it does require maintenance.”
The primary upgrading the Memorial Auditorium Board would like to see is the addition of air conditioning, which would enable more late spring and summer entertainment to take place in the building.
″We’ve got to use that facility for what it’s been built for,” said Pam Hinman, a member of the board. “It’s a public facility that’s being underused because we don’t have the right central heating and air conditioning.”
Jones said “the events we do have would be much more comfortable inside” with air conditioning. “It could cool the facility off.
There is around $40,000 in the air conditioning fund with a total cost estimate of between $250,000 and $300,000 for its addition, Jones said.
The recent New Year’s Eve gala in the building brought in $7,626 through donations, ticket sales, a live auction and a silent auction. All those proceeds go into the air conditioning fund. The amount brought in this year was a bit under what was raised in the past two years that a holiday gala has taken place in the building, Jones said. Last year, just over $9,000 was raised.
Attendance was slightly down at the recent gala, the first one held on New Year’s Eve, Jones said. He attributed the attendance dip to illness and families, particularly those with young children, staying home on New Year’s Eve.
Still, Jones was happy with the turnout of 80 to 90 people.
″Those who did attend were phenomenal,” he said. “I was very happy with that performance.”
The building has a 1,200 plus capacity auditorium including a stage with office and lobby space in the front of the building. The City contracts with the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce, located in the facility, for the management and scheduling of events in the Auditorium.
The city contracts with the Wellington Recreation Center for the daily routine maintenance tasks at the facility. The Public Works Director is responsible for the overall maintenance and upkeep of the facility.