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It's a BIG fund drive for the Panida's LITTLE Theater

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It’s Year Two in the Panida Theater’s fund drive to acquire the next-door building which once housed a tavern—and this year, the Panida staff and directors have expanded the fundraising effort.

They’ve launched the “Little Theater BIG Fund Drive,” and they have a concrete goal and deadline: $50,000 by November. It’s a goal they hope to bust wide open, with all extra monies raised going to renovation work on the new building.

The fund drive has started strong. With a little more than $15,000 in the building’s dedicated fund from activities during the year, plus $22,520 already donated in the current drive, the fund as the River Journal went to press stood at $37,570.

It’s a terrific start – but there’s still that $12,430 to go to reach the goal, noted Panida Executive Director Karen Bowers.

The $50,000 goal is not one plucked from thin air. Under the terms by which the building was purchased last year, that’s the amount of the balloon payment that comes due in November. It’s the first of five annual balloon payments that will pay off the total $272,500 purchase price.

That purchase one year ago was carried out with an original fundraising effort last year, in which donors were asked to pledge an annual contribution each year for five years. The bulk of the money collected to date has been from those annual pledges. “We’re really hoping some of the many folks who love the Panida but perhaps didn’t get asked last year will help this year,” said Bowers.

To contribute, call the Panida at 208-255-7801 or stop by the theater on First Avenue. Or, mail in a donation to: Panida Theater, PO Box 1981, Sandpoint, ID 83864. Or visit www.panida.org.

The acquisition of the building was kicked off in the summer of 1993, when the Panida board of directors learned it was coming up for sale. Directors recognized it as a one-time-only opportunity to enhance the Panida, and launched the first fundraising drive.

The building, which at that time housed the Avalanche Bar, will eventually provide an expanded lobby area for the Panida when a hall is created between the two spaces. The vision further out is to build an addition to the back of the building which will provide critical backstage support for the main Panida stage itself.

Nearer term—within just the next year—directors hope another novel use for the new building will begin, when a new, small performance space is created. Ideal for smaller shows that might accommodate audiences of 50 to 100 people, this coming new performance space is why Panida directors have taken to calling the building the “Little Theater.”

Significant improvements have already taken place in just the year since the purchase was completed. With only $5,000, plus a lot of volunteer labor and donated materials, a Panida work crew headed by Director Brent Lockwood remodeled the building façade with a fresh, contemporary look.

The Panida has also leased the front section of the building to Wine Sellers by the Lake, owned by Jack Eaves. The lease contributes to the acquisition and interest payments, and longer term will create some synergies to provide a pre- and post-performance gathering place for audiences.

In the next year, Panida directors hope to carry out the renovations necessary to start using the Little Theater’s new performance space.

But the success of the fundraising effort will be critical to realize that big next step. Said Bowers: “There’s never been a better time to contribute to this fund, and we hope everyone who loves attending shows at the Panida can donate.”

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Sandpoint, Panida Theater, Panida Little Theater

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