A Brief History
In the late 1980’s, a Task Force was established to study the need for an auditorium to serve the citizens of eastern Catawba County. At the same time, the former Newton-Conover High School auditorium was in a state of benign neglect and was being abused by those who were using the facility. Yet it was the conclusion of the consulting architect that it was a hidden gem which could be restored into a magnificent venue for the community.
For a variety of reasons, it was decided that formation of a non-profit corporation, all of whose board members would be appointed by governmental entities, would be the best structure for governance of the new auditorium. Financing was to be by a public-private partnership. Three governmental units agreed to participate as follows: the City of Newton, $400,000; Catawba County, $200,000; and the Newton-Conover City School Administrative Unit, $50,000, largely in-kind. A ninety-nine year lease of the auditorium, together with ancillary facilities, was obtained for the protection of the public and the participating governmental units.
This $650,000 was combined with $900,000 contributed by businesses, individuals, and foundations, primarily from Catawba County, to form the fund which was used to preserve, restore, and remodel the building into the magnificent art-deco facility which we enjoy today and of which we are so proud.