The Friend Historical Society has been looking to update the Warren Opera House in Friend for the past decade.
The opera house is located above the Pour House and San Carlo Room at 511 Second Street and has existed since 1889.
Kevin Clark of Clark Architects in Lincoln has been selected to do the project reconstruction and will be present Nov. 3 during an open house at the site to display a few possible ideas for the town’s historical landmark.
“This could have a maximum impact for the town and bring people back,” Clark said. “This theater can be a part of the rebuilding of Friend.”
The open house will give community members a chance to meet with Clark and see ideas. They can provide feedback and give their own ideas as well.
Clark hopes to turn the opera house into a location where not only can community events be held, but programs from local high schools and universities as well. He hopes this will promote not only the opera house, but the town of Friend.
“I see a bright future for the opera house,” Clark said. “It’s nice that the first floor is done because incremental growth is perfect.”
According to the Friend Historical Society’s website, the last portion of the building that was worked on was the roof and windows in 2015.
Historical Society president Mark Stutzman said the only thing that needs to be installed on the first floor is an elevator up to the opera house once it’s completed.
According to Stutzman, the society is waiting until after the open house to settle a budget for the renovation, but is already looking for potential grants and funding options.
“Ninety-nine percent of this (project) depends on grants and how much funding we have,” Stutzman said. “We will still have our annual (fundraising) gala in January.”
The Historical Society is looking for community feedback and ideas for where they want the project to go. Stutzman hopes with the upcoming open house, people feel free to give their input.
“I’m excited to be to this point and looking forward to moving on with the project,” Stutzman said.
The open house will be held Sunday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.