On Dec. 16th, the Manhattan City Commission awarded a contract to Cheney Construction for both the City Hall Parks and Rec. office expansion project and for the improvements to the Peace Memorial Auditorium, which include air conditioning, improved heating, improved electrical to support the new HVAC, and a stair lift to provide handicapped access to the stage.
For Jan. 27th, a City Commission work session has been scheduled to discuss fundraising efforts for the auditorium and to discuss the proposed “memorial foyer.” The discussion about the foyer is anticipated to be about the public process for developing the design and content for the memorial foyer. The fundraising part of the work session will likely discuss the Friends of Peace Memorial Auditorium and what the relationship should be, if any, between the Friends of P.M.A. and the city.
These latest developments are positive, and hopefully mean the auditorium is out of immediate danger of becoming offices and more basketball courts. However, the HVAC and ADA improvements planned for the auditorium do not eliminate the possibility of the stage’s being replaced by basketball courts at some point in the future. City elections will also occur in April, and with three City Commission seats up for election, how the City Commission views the auditorium could change.