Save the Tabor
In 2016, Colorado Preservation Inc. designated the Tabor Opera House as one of Colorado’s Endangered Places, citing "Demolition by Neglect" as the threat. Decades of deferred maintenance and neglect have left this National Trust for Historic Preservation-designated National Treasure in a perilous state.
The first step in reversing that decline and preserving the building is the completion of detailed architectural and engineering construction documents, a yearlong project estimated at $316,435.
We have wonderful news to share on the rehabilitation front. Thanks to a final push from a $10,000 grant award from our local LT100 Legacy Foundation, the Foundation has completed raising the $316,435 needed for the Architecture and Engineering project to develop all the design and construction documents for the rehabilitation of the Tabor Opera House. We are grateful to all the partners who are making this A&E project possible: the State Historical Fund ($200,000), the National Trust for Historic Preservation ($10,000), the National Park Service’s Heritage Partnerships Program ($10,000), the LT100 Legacy Foundation $10,000), the Leadville Literary League ($10,600), Lifetime Fitness leaders and partners ($19,500), Leadville Arts Coalition ($500) and other local and state individual and business owners With this yearlong project underway, kicking off September 1, 2018, we will be turning our attention to our next mission: raising $1.5 million for rehabilitating two facades of the opera house, targeting 2019 to start construction.
Our journey to save this historic building begins!
Current Operating Needs
2018 marks our second season operating the opera house as a community events and performing arts center. We are proud to have been able to offer over a dozen diverse and exciting events, from folk, blues and rock bands to comedy, poetry and live theater. We have just completed our 2018 season and are beginning to plan our 2019 season. We are seeking 2019 season sponsors to help us cover the costs of putting on our season: performer fees, performer food and housing, staff and technical support expenses. Ask us about Colorado tax credits for cash and in-kind donations if you'd like to help!
Additional operating needs are for $15,000 for a film projector system. We are overjoyed to announce that in May 2018 we were able to raise the money needed for our sound and lighting gear. We gratefully acknowledge the Leadville Boom Days Committee, Lake County Community Fund (2017 and 2018 grants), People's Bank (2017 donation) and two anonymous donors for making this possible. We opened our season with the new gear fully installed and it worked great!
We also need help, lots of help, from volunteers and our valiant paid staff who support our events and offer our tours. Please contact us if you wish to help as a volunteer or staff person and let us know about your talents and skills.
Short Term Rehabilitation Fundraising
We are working on getting temporary heat into the front retail spaces and performance space so we can extend our season beyond the summer months. While we raised $50,000 in 2017 toward this temporary heater system thanks to a generous grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, we discovered asbestos in the old furnace room and must remediate that contamination before we can install the new system. We are raising money for the asbestos remediation so we can get to the fun part, the temporary heater system that will allow us to remain open for more of the year.
Ah, the joys of working on a glorious old building!
As our first step on the long term overall project of rehabilitating the building, in early 2018 we were fortunate enough to win a $200,000 grant from the State Historical Fund toward our first step in the rehabilitation: creation of complete interior and exterior design and construction documents to guide the rehabilitation of the building. The complete architecture and engineering project is budgeted at $316,435. We have now raised our cash match and this critical project is contracted and underway as of September 1, 2018. We hope to complete this architecture and engineering planning phase of the project during 2019, including all historic preservation and code approval reviews and approvals.
Long Term Rehabilitation Fundraising
With construction documents in hand, we can begin actual construction work immediately thereafter. We hope to have funds in hand to begin construction on our first project by late 2019 or early 2020. The highest priority project after architecture and engineering documents is protecting the building’s exterior to prevent further deterioration. The Historic Structure Assessment in 2003 documented the urgent need for critical rehabilitation measures. We have identified and scoped a $1.5 million initial project focusing on rehabilitating the windows, masonry and chimneys on three exterior facades. This first phase allows us to protect the building from further deterioration while we plan and raise funds for the rest of the rehabilitation. As the 2017 feasibility study below indicates, the complete rehabilitation of exterior facades and interior spaces will cost between $8.5 to $10 million in 2017 dollars. We have set a 2018-2019 fundraising goal of $1.5 million for that initial phase protecting the facade of the building while we continue to strengthen our organization and develop our capabilities to take on the rest of the rehabilitation project.