At its regular June meeting, the Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) took the first major step in its long-awaited project to renovate and modernize the Chatfield Center for the Arts by hiring architect and planning firm LHB to assist with the pre-design phase.

LHB specializes in such projects and has assembled a team of collaborating firms to assist Chatfield with the process. Collaborating firms for the pre-design process include Dunham Associates, Auerbach-Pollack-Friedlander, Workshop Architects and Pathfinder CRM.

LHB, Inc. will provide services for architecture, structural, landscape and civil design related efforts.

Dunham Associates will provide services for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and data related efforts.

Auerbach-Pollack-Friedlander will provide services for technical theater design.

Workshop Architects will provide services related to theater programming and space planning consultation.

Pathfinder CRM will provide cultural resource management and historic preservation consultation services.

The pre-design phase will begin in mid-July and is anticipated to finish in September 2014, with the subsequent full design phase finishing in the spring of 2015. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring or summer of 2015.

Since 2009, the Chatfield EDA has pursued this project based on the potential economic and social benefits that will result in the preservation of key community cultural assets. In May of 2014 the Minnesota Legislature approved and the Governor signed the 2014 state bonding bill that included $5.352 million for the Chatfield EDA to fund pre-design, design and implementation of certain improvements to the Chatfield Center for the Arts, including Potter Auditorium.

The project vision reads, "The Chatfield Center for the Arts will be a sustainable organization that promotes the arts for the benefit of the community, the region and the state. The Chatfield Center for the Arts will maintain the historical integrity of the structures while incorporating state-of-the-art technology to serve the needs of a variety of users and inspire performers, audiences and all those who use this unique facility."