Historic Opera House Awarded 2 Million Dollar Grant 

A two million dollar grant in support of renovating and expanding the Waterville Opera House has been made. Wednesday afternoon at the opera house members of the Harold Alfond Foundation announced that the grant would be awarded to the historic theatre in the elm city.Consistent with Mr. Alfond’s preference for awarding matching challenge grants as a way to build community relationships, the foundation will match every dollar raised up to two million. “We hope our commitment to match every donation will inspire all members of the community who have enjoyed the opera house over the years to support the renovations of this historic theatre,” said Greg Powell, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.Built in 1902 and listed on the National Register of historic Places the opera house is in need of renovations to bring it up to code according to theatre executive director Diane Bryan. The project will include a new ventilation system, lighting and new seating. “This project will allow us to bring the opera house into compliance with regards to safety, accessibility, to promote the arts to people of all ages and nurture development and education to children in our community,” said Bryan.A new addition is planned as well, which will be named the Alfond addition. It will include dressing rooms and rest rooms. A freight elevator and new entrances will also be added. Bryan says work will begin next March and is expected to be completed before the end of 2011.