March 11, 2024

La Crosse Community Theatre Expands with Acquisition of First Church of Christ Building

Expansion Project Logo

La Crosse Community Theatre (LCT) is thrilled to announce its recent acquisition of the First Church of Christ Building, a significant development aimed at enhancing the organization's capabilities and community outreach.

The acquisition of the First Church of Christ Building will provide LCT with a safer, more secure,  and more accessible location for storing costumes, props, and some scenery. This strategic move is part of LCT's ongoing commitment to improving its operational efficiency and ensuring the safety of its valuable volunteers.

Furthermore, LCT is set to transform part of the acquired space into a state-of-the-art scenic shop. This new facility will allow for the construction of sets outside of the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, providing increased flexibility and enabling the Weber Center to be more accessible for community events.

The sanctuary of the First Church of Christ Building presents an exciting opportunity for LCT to expand its rehearsal space. The conversion of this area will not only contribute to the growth of LCT's productions but also create additional room for educational offerings. This innovative approach aims to enrich the community by providing more opportunities for artistic development and engagement.

Erik Vose, Executive Director of La Crosse Community Theatre, expressed his enthusiasm for this transformative acquisition, stating, "The First Church of Christ Building provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our footprint and better serve the community. This strategic move aligns with our vision for growth and will enable us to continue providing exceptional theatrical experiences for our audiences."

The LCT Board, led by dedicated President Pat Heim, played a crucial role in evaluating and supporting this expansion. Their thorough examination ensured that the acquisition aligns seamlessly with LCT's mission and commitment to the community. The Board's insight into the potential of the First Church of Christ Building, both in terms of operational efficiency and community impact, underscores the strategic foresight driving this significant development. As LCT moves forward with this exciting project, the thoughtful contributions of the Board will undoubtedly continue to guide the organization toward even greater success in its mission of providing exceptional theatrical experiences and fostering artistic development in the La Crosse community.

One of the key stipulations in this acquisition is LCT's commitment to preserving the historical significance of the First Church of Christ Building. As part of this pledge, LCT aims to convert and reuse the historic structure while maintaining its architectural and cultural heritage. This approach reflects LCT's respect for the rich history embedded in the church and its dedication to preserving the cultural fabric of the community.

In a gesture of goodwill, LCT recognizes the importance of continuity for the congregation of the First Church of Christ. As part of the agreement, the congregation will have access to the church on Sundays and for special events as LCT moves into the space. This allows the congregation to continue using the familiar space while they navigate their future plans during this uncertain time.

Erik Vose, Executive Director of La Crosse Community Theatre, emphasized the importance of this considerate approach, stating, "We understand the deep connections that individuals and communities have with their places of worship. It's only fitting that we extend our support by allowing the congregation to use the space during this transitional period. We want to ensure a smooth and respectful transition for all involved."

LCT acknowledges that the conversion and modification of the space to suit its theatrical needs will take time. By allowing the congregation to continue using the church for a defined period, LCT aims to foster a sense of community and cooperation during this exciting yet sensitive phase of transformation.

LCT extends its heartfelt appreciation to Neil Wieser from Wieser Brothers General Contractors Inc, Peter B. Schneider from Paul's Heating and Cooling, and Brian Poellinger from Poellinger Electrical for their invaluable support throughout the assessment process of the First Church of Christ Building. Their willingness to share their expertise free of charge played a pivotal role in ensuring that LCT makes informed decisions regarding this significant acquisition. Their thorough evaluations and insights into the building's condition were instrumental in guiding LCT towards a well-informed choice that aligns with the organization's vision. 

A special acknowledgement goes to Vice President Jay Lokken for not only offering his own expertise but also facilitating connections with these esteemed contractors. This collaborative effort exemplifies the strength of community partnerships and underscores the shared commitment to the success of this transformative project. LCT is truly grateful for their dedication, generosity, and collaborative spirit, which have been integral to the thoughtful planning and decision-making behind this exciting expansion.

LCT is excited about the potential impact of this acquisition on the local arts scene. The expansion into the First Church of Christ Building not only enhances LCT's capabilities but also opens up new possibilities for collaboration and community engagement.