Christman Construction Company. Since 1894.

Georgia College & State University

Black Box Theatre and Bookstore

Millidgeville, Georgia

  • Contract Type:
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  • Design/Build
  • Renovation
  • $5,484,000
  • 21,985 s.f.
  • Dunwoody Beeland Architects
  • January 2010

2010 Best Commercial Redevelopment Activity Award, Georgia Downtown Authority
2010 University System of Georgia Public/Private Ventures Award

The Campus Theatre is typical of the Art Deco-style theatres that were once ubiquitous in towns throughout the southeastern United States. It opened in 1935 and served as a traditional performance hall for nearly half a century before closing in 1983. The building fell into disrepair, and stood mostly empty until Garbutt/Christman was chosen to perform a due diligence study and subsequently, the restoration and adaptive reuse of this historic building.

This project had three goals: to provide a central location for the university bookstore to improve the efficiency of operations and expand all non-textbook retail business; to provide a dedicated black box theatre, classrooms and practice facilities for GCSU's performing arts department; and to serve as a resource for the greater Milledgeville/Baldwin County Community. After successfully completing the due diligence study, Garbutt/Christman determined the best course of action was to combine two of the school's bookstores into a single, centralized entity. Garbutt/Christman also performed an early abatement and selective demo package to help get the project ahead of schedule.

By utilizing the volume of the Campus Theatre performance area, Garbutt/Christman added a floor over the textbook and receiving areas for a new black box theatre, featuring state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. Additionally, classroom and practice spaces, costume areas, laundry facilities and scene receiving/storage were accommodated in this space. Some of Garbutt/Christman's additional work included:

  • Stabilizing the building foundation underpinning and creating a new structural steel frame to accommodate a new basement and mezzanine levels;
  • Exterior restoration of brick, terra cotta, windows and doors, ticket booth, marquee, and entrance floor tile;
  • Restoration of exposed masonry and clay tile, doors, hardwood floors, and plaster walls in the historic office areas;
  • Space for textbook storage and sales, retail sales, office space, and the introduction of a coffeeshop, Jittery Joe's.

These building improvements increase the quality of education offered to the University's performing arts students by providing them with dedicated practice and performance facilities with new light and sound equipment. Many other non-profit theatrical and dance groups will utilize the facility (in addition to school performances that are open to the public), making the black box theatre a valuable community amenity and improving the cultural arts of the greater Milledgeville/Baldwin County. The Garbutt/Christman team was able to complete this project within budget and two months ahead of schedule.

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Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore
Black Box Theatre and Bookstore