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Construction on former Baptist Church in Springville to begin this spring

A BRIGHTER FUTURE — Pictured is the center for the arts’ gallery space, which will be cut open to re-expose the art glass windows. Photos courtesy of Seth Wochensky.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Center for the Arts purchased a former Baptist Church building, located on North Buffalo Street in Springville, in 2007. During the past six years, the SCA has produced film screenings, theater productions, children’s workshops, concerts, gallery exhibits and more, from that Springville space.

The first phase of the SCA’s renovations to this building included the initial purchase and related costs, emergency masonry work and the replacement of flat roofs.

This year will usher in a new renovation phase, for the SCA. Monies provided by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council will go toward work on both the interior and exterior of the North Buffalo Street building.

Funding will be received from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the New York state’s Rural Area Revitalization Program and the Empire State Development. Procured funding is currently under the umbrella of the REDC.

ROOM FOR MORE — Shown is the site of the classroom addition, on the side of the church building that shares a parking lot with the Concord Town Hall.
In addition to the overhaul of the art center’s recent 5 East Main St. acquisition, the SCA’s building on North Buffalo Street in Springville will soon be the site of extensive renovations.

This location was awarded $424,800 by the REDC. SCA Executive Director Seth Wochensky said that the arts center has been doing fundraising for renovations to the facility for quite some time and has built up a “sizeable amount” of matching funds. “We have to match, in some way, all of the funding,” he said.

Part of the existing matching funds were provided by the Springville-Griffith Community Education Foundation and by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. In-kind labor and private donations, as well as a $25,000 from Erie County, also provide matching funds.

The current phase of the church building’s remodel will steer clear of the SCA’s theater space.

OLD WILL BECOME NEW — Much of the SCA building’s masonry is scheduled to receive extensive repairs, soon.
On the docket for the immediate future is the total roof system replacement, including the installation of faux, synthetic slate. “This is a green product that can be recycled,” Wochensky said. Gutters will be replaced, trim repair and painting will be completed and partial or total masonry work will be done. “These things depend on bids, while right now we just have estimates,” Wochensky said. “We will start with the priority – the roof – and work our way down. The masonry is the single, largest expense. It’s been ignored for 30 years and now has extensive water damage.”

The building’s south wing, the gallery, will be renovated. “We will be re-exposing historic elements like stained glass windows,” Wochensky said.

“We won’t have a gallery space, while we’re under construction,” he said, adding that he is planning to rent or utilize another space for workshops, while renovations are being completed. An elevator will be placed on the gallery side.

A classroom will be built over a portion of the building that currently lacks a second floor.

Wochensky said that he hoped this phase will also include “the renovation of the basement on the gallery side, which will include the public bathrooms, but it depends on how far the dollars stretch.”

The third phase, to take place some time in the future, will include an entrance space and theater renovation, including the corresponding basement dig-out underneath, but Wochensky said he will not allow programming to be affected, during that time. “We will have to be creative,” he said. “We’ll make it work.”

Wochensky estimated that the building’s total rehabilitation will cost $2 million and be done over a period of several years.

He added that approximately $100,000 is still needed for this spring’s renovations.

“As we do this work in the spring, we’ll try to leverage the funding that we do have, to obtain more funding,” he said.

Construction on the upcoming phase, including the roof, gallery space, masonry and classroom addition, cannot begin until the SCA gets its contracts in place. Under the grant guidelines, work must be publicly bid. “A lot of guidelines are in place for spending this money,” Wochensky said.

He said that, while construction could begin as early as March 1, there is no definite construction start date, as of yet.

“This was a major announcement that will be reaffirming to people who’ve donated for so many years,” Wochensky said. “Now we have something to show them that’s a little more tangible.”

For more information about the Springville Center for the Arts, visit or call 592-9038.

The SCA is located at 37 North Buffalo St. in Springville.


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