Fox Theatre Evaluates Structure, Community Dreams of its Future

Hannah Rudman

Many students know that the Fox Theatre exists, but their knowledge of the space ends there. These students aren’t oblivious; the owners of the theatre are simply in the process of determining what its use in the Stevens Point community should be.

The Sanders family, who owned the Fox Theatre for several years, donated the building to the Arts Alliance of Portage County last spring. Bill Schierl, President of the Board of Directors of the Arts Alliance, was involved in deciding what to do with the Fox at that time.

“The Arts Alliance transferred the property to the Fox Theatre, LLC that operates separately from the Arts Alliance,” Schierl said.

The Fox Theatre, LLC is run by a non-profit Board of Directors. The process of transferring ownership to Fox Theatre, LLC took place over the summer and the business has just begun process of evaluating what is best for the Fox and Stevens Point. Fox Theatre Board of Directors President, Greg Wright, explained the current state of the Fox.

“Assessing the structural capacity of the building is our main focus right now,” Wright said. “We have a number of structural engineers making bids that will lead us to more complete information.”

The basic structure is being assessed to determine what needs to be done to bring the Fox to a usable level.

Once the bids are complete, the Board will be able to determine what is financially realistic and compelling

“Our first goal is to make sure the building is safe for the public,” to the community. The Fox will Wright said. ideally be used as a multi-use facility.“First and foremost, we are hoping to create an economically responsible institution, both in terms of the capital we raise to fund the building and in terms of the programming and endowment that will keep it running. Beyond that, our goal is to maximize the usefulness of the facility for the community,” Wright said.

While the Fox Theatre, LLC has conducted market research to determine the niche it will best serve, students and faculty hope the Fox will draw interest downtown and to the arts.

Caren Heft, the Director for the Edna Carlsten Gallery, would like to see the Fox used as a multi-use performance space or as a theatre museum.

“We have a lot of arts space in Stevens Point, and this would be a jewel in the crown of arts spaces,” Heft said.

Senior communication student, Hannah Timler, would be happy with the Fox being used for more than the arts.

“It would be cool if it were open for the public, for people to have performance opportunities,” Timler said.

Senior music major, Andrew Slembarski, hopes the Fox will create a more vibrant downtown.

“We need to have a downtown that is an actual downtown, not just a bunch of bars,” Slembarski said.


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