Morgan Arts Council unveils plan to complete Ice House, develop local convention center

The Morgan Arts Council (MAC) has announced its ambitious plan to complete development of their Ice House art and community center.

The Morgan County Commission last week awarded MAC $10,000 from local hotel/motel taxes for the initial phase of the project.

Fundraising chairperson Jeanne Mozier outlined the five-year phased project that will add 20,000 square feet of space for art, community, and economic development use in downtown Berkeley Springs.

She introduced plans for an expanded dance studio, moving the current theater multi-use

The Ice House in downtown Berkeley Springs.

space to a permanent home on the second floor, and an education floor that would feature the America’s first spa academy.

Mozier said the top floor of the former cold storage building would become a convention center. That center will include the largest ballroom space in the county, a catering kitchen, exhibit hall and meeting rooms.

“With its 80-feet of western-facing iridescent glass, raised roof and spectacular giant window with a view of the entire town, it will be a legendary party space,” she said. “It will allow Berkeley Springs to bid on larger conventions and conferences than it now can.”

Hotel/motel funds were requested for the first phase of the project that begins in September to install the required fire suppression system throughout all four floors of the historic structure.

Titled “Spring for the Sprinklers,” the campaign has already accumulated more than half the estimated $350,000 cost for the system.

“MAC has received a state cultural facilities grant and private and corporate donations for more than $250,000,” she said. “We are still waiting to hear about a Historic Preservation grant and feel confident that the community will continue to respond to the request.”

The estimated cost to complete all renovations is $2 million.

“If someone writes us a check for the whole amount,” said Mozier, “they can put their name on the building.”

MAC is also working on developing historic tax credits to assist in the fundraising effort.

Commissioner Ken Reed gave his wholehearted endorsement of the project, stating that he was impressed with the fundraising work MAC has carried out to date and noted that MAC is uniquely positioned among local community groups to be successful with this size of undertaking.

For more information about the project, visit macicehouse.org or call 304-258-2300 to have material sent. MAC is a tax deductible 501(c)3 organization founded in 1977.

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