memorial opera house valparaiso

Porter County Memorial Opera House Expansion Put on Hold

Built in 1892, the proposed Memorial Opera House expansion will cost $8 million dollars. The Opera House has already had major renovations two times (2018 & 1998) and several interior remodeling updates over the years. The main purpose of the expansion, is to allow a larger area for people to gather for refreshments before and after the theater events. During several commissioner meetings the Opera House expansion project brought great outcry and criticism from the public.  

There are three commissioners, and two of them did not approve the motion, including newly elected Barb Regnitz, R-Center, and Jim Biggs, R-North, who were the two commissioners who abstained from moving forward through a lack of second. Laura Blaney, D-South, is the commissioner who brought the motion forward and has been supporting the project from it’s inception. Biggs is president of the commission and is in his 15th year and newly elected Barb Regnitz is vice president. Regnitz ran her 2022 campaign on being “fiscally responsible.”

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The proposed expansion would provide an atrium that connects the Opera House with the Sheriff’s residence, (previous Porter County Museum) another building that is on Historic Registry. Instead of the proposed expansion, the commissioners are looking for what really needs renovating instead of the expansion which include plumbing repairs, HVAC, electrical, and masonry repairs. The expansion does not increase seating capacity. (Possibly utilizing some of the new space from the recently expanded  Porter County Museum across the street since another purpose of the Opera House expansion is for more storage area and staff offices.)

     The Memorial Opera House, is an historic Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall located downtown Valparaiso, Indiana.  Designed in 1892 by a local architect, Charles F. Lembke., using Romanesque styling, it was built in 1892-3 to seat 400 people. The founders wanted a functional war memorial, not merely a plaque or statue.  It was also used as the local opera house at that time. The next year, they renamed the building Memorial Opera House. At the time of construction, Indiana Avenue was called Mechanics Street. Today, the two story building seats approximately 320 people on the main level and another 50 people at the upper level balcony.

You can read more about the previous renovation on the Opera House here which celebrated the 125th Anniversay on Feb 15, 2018.

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Sue

Sue Baxter

Susie Young Baxter, CEO, has published PanoramaNOW Magazine for 31 years. Her hobbies are Camping, Boating, Hiking, Nature, Gardening and Outdoor Activities. She is an Artist, Graphic Designer, an Avid Seamstress, Dabbles in Homemade Crafts and Landscaping. Since her Father was a Health Teacher, she also likes homeopathic Health Solutions. Since blogging started over 10 years ago, PanoramaNow has been added to Newsbreak – a national news affiliate.

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About The Author

Sue Baxter

Susie Young Baxter, CEO, has published PanoramaNOW Magazine for 31 years. Her hobbies are Camping, Boating, Hiking, Nature, Gardening and Outdoor Activities. She is an Artist, Graphic Designer, an Avid Seamstress, Dabbles in Homemade Crafts and Landscaping. Since her Father was a Health Teacher, she also likes homeopathic Health Solutions. Since blogging started over 10 years ago, PanoramaNow has been added to Newsbreak - a national news affiliate.