Museums phase one work begins

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; The 30-day asbestos removal from Ferriday&8217;s old Arcade theatre is the first physical step for a planned multipurpose center.

Ascension Environmental Services Contractors of Prairieville has a 30-day contract to remove asbestos from the building. After asbestos removal and disposal from the building, the Arcade will be demolished to prepare the site for the new tenant.

Plans for the new Arcade include a 6,500-square-foot multipurpose center the community is sure to be proud of, Delta Music Museum Director Judith Bingham said. The center will offer a 300-seat auditorium for activities including dance recitals, performing and community events and banquets. The center will also have removable seating to accommodate other things, Bingham said.

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&8220;The community is excited about this because it&8217;s something they can be proud of,&8221; Bingham said. &8220;It will be an extension to our part of the museum and I think it will give an outlet to the community for the performing arts.&8221;

The &8220;first phase&8221; of the project &8212; removing the asbestos &8212; is geared toward creating a new building like the original, built in 1926. The building was rebuilt after the town lost the original to a 1950 fire, Bingham said.

&8220;After the architects did a study on the present building, they decided it wasn&8217;t safe and they shouldn&8217;t repair the old building,&8221; Bingham said. &8220;Now with demolition of the building we can get the new building to look as much like the &8217;26 building as we can.&8221;

The second phase, Bingham said, is to receive authorization from the Governor&8217;s Division of Administration, allowing construction bids to be given for the new building. After a bid is chosen and approved, construction will begin, Bingham said.

&8220;This will be something the community can take advantage of,&8221; Bingham said. &8220;And when people come in to the town there will be more revenue for the city and business establishments.&8221;

Construction of the new building is estimated to cost approximately $1 million. The money to complete the project comes from the cooperative efforts by Secretary of State Al Ater, and former District 21 seat member in House of Representatives, Bryant Hammett.