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Stephens Lake Park amphitheater to reopen in March

Monday, September 27, 2010 | 6:18 p.m. CDT; updated 7:43 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 27, 2010
The stage of the new amphitheater at Stephens Lake Park is 60 feet by 60 feet. The outdoor theater can be used for several different kinds of events.

COLUMBIA—The Stephens Lake Park amphitheater is scheduled to reopen in March after weather-related construction delays.

The amphitheater, which first opened on June 26, although it was uncompleted, will be available for concerts, plays, musical performances and private events, such as weddings, according to Erin Carrillo, recreational specialist at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

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"It is open to the people who want to rent it. It can be reached by anyone," Carrillo said.

According to the city's website it will cost $200 to reserve the space for a half day and $400 for a full day.

The outdoor theater includes a 60 foot by 60 foot stage, partition walls and an open air sound and light control stage.

"It will look more like a Roman amphitheater," Richard Perkins, an engineering aide with the city, said. "They have worked for thousands of years."

Perkins said the weather could be the biggest problem.

"When it rains, it gets really muddy," he said.

The stage, orchestra pit and sound stage have been designed to receive and direct storm water away, Perkins said. The hillside will be monitored for wet conditions, but he anticipates it will improve after more grass growth.

"It is something different that they have not experienced before," Perkins said.  "It has  been designed from an angle that allows everyone to have a view of the stage."

For most events the occupancy will be capped at 500 people but for special events it will be extended to 1500. The amphitheater is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and includes 20 to 30 wheelchair spots.

The city provided $45,250 for the project, $20,250 of which came from a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant the city received in 2008. An additional $5,000 grant came from the Missouri Arts Council to add the walls.

Depending on funding and popularity, the project could expand to a second phase to include bathrooms, dressing rooms, a green room, where actors prepare before performing, and a roof. The estimated cost for materials would be between $200,000 and $300,000, Perkins said.


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Comments

Ray Shapiro September 27, 2010 | 7:48 p.m.

("Perkins said the weather could be the biggest problem.
"When it rains, it gets really muddy," he said.
The amphitheater is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and includes 20 to 30 wheelchair spots.")

Wheelchairs can get stuck in the mud.
Old people can slip and really hurt themselves.
Little kids love mud.

One out of three is par for the city.

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