If the Legislature approves the grant in its 2013 budget, the center will be able to include more elements to the project, which cost more than $4.4 million, including a planned replacement of the roof and mechanical systems.
The Olympia City Council committed to the project in June, which will include replacing the leaky, synthetic stucco-style exterior of the building at 512 Washington St. SE with a canopy, new windows, lighting, glass doors and a ticket window. The council also agreed to more design elements if the state grant is received: adding poster display windows, placing custom windows above the canopy, upgrading siding to stone above the entry, adding a canopy over the adjacent alley and adding a permanent marquee sign.
“So we are very excited,” said Debbie Sullivan, director of technical services for the city. The project is ranked No. 2 in a list of 13 recommended projects for the state grant, she said. The amount is recommended to the governor to be included in the 2013 budget. If it’s included and the Legislature approves, the money will be distributed later in 2013, Sullivan said.
The city is applying for another $500,000 state grant but hasn’t heard back about it, she said.
Construction is planned for next year, after the theater’s regular season.
It’s still unclear how the city will pay for the project; the council might borrow money. Sullivan said the council will consider the question this year. The city faces an estimated $2.4 million budget shortfall next year and is asking people to vote to raise sales taxes one-tenth of 1 percent this November to stave off more severe budget cuts.
The city owns The Washington Center building and is in charge of major maintenance, while the nonprofit arts organization also known as The Washington Center runs the theater and is responsible for most interior repairs.
The center’s management has been in flux for the past year. Longtime executive director Tom Iovanne retired after 22 years in May 2011. His interim successor, Kevin Boyer, resigned last month along with audience-services manager Judy Oliver-Turner.
Sullivan said Greg Cuoio, the longtime former city manager of Lacey and a board member of the center, had taken over Boyer’s responsibilities as a liaison to the city. Cuoio could not be reached for comment Friday.