Nevada City’s KVMR and Nevada Theatre project construction begins |

Nevada City’s KVMR and Nevada Theatre project construction begins

A piece of history was shed Monday as about 50 people gathered for the next step in the construction of KVMR’s new location and the expanded backstage of the Nevada Theatre.

The three sheds located behind the theater at 120 Bridge St. will be disassembled and re-purposed for the radio station, and the space is expected to open in the summer of 2014, according to the Nevada Theatre Commission.

“We just found out that construction will begin Wednesday,” said Rick Sharkey, development director for KVMR.

The new building will include a performance studio and community room for live music and performances, as well as two broadcasting studios and 1,500 feet of backstage space for the theater stage that will include rehearsal space, a dressing room, storage and restrooms.

“We’re going to be able to broadcast live productions as they occur on stage,” Sharkey said, adding that such potential is unheard of in Northern California. “That makes the project even more valuable.”

The backstage to the Nevada Theatre currently has only 4 feet of space between the stage and the back wall without access to the storage sheds, which will be expanded with the new building.

“We’re going to punch a hole in the back wall of the theater and extend their backstage storage space by 1,200 square feet,” Sharkey said.

The project had been discussed a decade ago but was finally passed by the planning commission in June of last year.

The sheds were built in the 19th century and were used for various purposes over time, but for decades, they had retained a bedraggled appearance and faulty infrastructure.

“When I was a kid, I worked at the building that was the Nevada City cabin shop, and I would say a little prayer in hopes that the roof wouldn’t fall on me,” said Amanda Rodgers, marketing director for KVMR. “It’s exciting for two reasons — that it’s going to be turned into something cool and that it’s going to be my office!”

Part of the project involves re-using the wooden beams of the current shed as a representation of the location’s history.

“We’re so pleased we’ve been able to come full circle,” said architect Jeff Gold. “This is an effort of our whole community. The vision, determination and skill speaks enormously and gives a sense of well-being for the future.”

Part of the community effort involves the workers, who are 100 percent local, and donations, which are required to pay back the loan for the $3 million location.

“We have secured the construction funding, and the project is moving forward,” Sharkey said. “But the money is offered to us as a loan, and we have to secure the funds from donations and raise the money ourselves to pay that back.”

Members of the 147-year-old theater and KVMR, which will celebrate its 35th anniversary, expressed excitement about the collaboration.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Sharkey said. “This is a huge next step forward to make a dream become a reality.”

To donate, contact Sharkey at 530-265-9073, ext. 201, or

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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