College plans grand opening ceremony for renovated Connie Gotsch Theatre
New lobby, ticket booth, dressing rooms, theater seats were included in project
FARMINGTON — San Juan College officials will introduce the institution's renovated Little Theatre — now known as the Connie Gotsch Theatre — to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8.
The theater underwent a more than $700,000 renovation last year, according to a news release from the college. The work included a new lobby, ticket booth, dressing rooms and display case. The project also included the installation of new carpet, tile, theater seats, and TV and video system, as well as upgrades to the house and stage lighting.
The nonprofit Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation donated $500,000 to the San Juan College Foundation for the renovation, as well as $250,000 for an endowment that will help underwrite the theater's use by local arts groups.
Interest generated from the endowment will create funding that will allow those groups to use the facility for free once a year, a CGAF official has said, in addition to supporting the fine arts programs at the college.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation, the Little Theatre has been beautifully redone and renamed after 35 years,” San Juan College Foundation executive director Gayle Dean stated in the news release. “Our Physical Plant, under the leadership of Chris Harrelson, and the San Juan College Foundation partnered with the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation to create a space which will serve our community for decades to come. Additionally, the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation created a San Juan College Foundation endowment which will provide for the Connie Gotsch Theatre and the entire SJC Fine Arts department in perpetuity. It is with untold pride that we unveil this legacy to our own Connie Gotsch and her Foundation.”
The CGAF originally offered to donate $750,000 to the City of Farmington for the construction of a municipal auditorium. But when that proposal was tabled, the arts foundation decided to partner with the college on a renovation of the Little Theatre, a 7,700-square-foot facility that was badly in need of a facelift after opening in 1974.
The namesake of the theater and the arts organization, Connie Gotsch, is a former San Juan College radio show host and patron of the college's music and fine arts programs who died in 2012.
The Sept. 8 ceremony will take place in the courtyard outside the theater on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Guided tours of the facility will be offered, but those taking the tour will be required to wear a mask.
Anyone interested in utilizing the theater for an event is asked to call the college's scheduling services department at 505-325-3296.