Malvern, AR – Arkansas State University Three Rivers received a grant of $663,263 from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) at its meeting on Wednesday, June 3. The grant funds will allow the College to begin Phase I of the Historic Ritz Theatre restoration in downtown Malvern, Arkansas.
The council distributed $27.3 million to 23 projects that will restore and protect state-owned lands and property.
Dr. Steve Rook, Chancellor of ASU Three Rivers stated, “What a significant accomplishment this is for Malvern, Hot Spring County, ASU Three Rivers, and the Historic Ritz Theatre. I’m really excited to see this project get underway and for the community to begin to see progress to its theatre.”
The restoration will be done across several phases as the work will be extensive. In Phase I, the restoration will involve renovating and stabilizing the exterior envelope of the Ritz Theatre. The following work will be included in this phase: the installation of a new roof, restore the entry to that of the 1948 reconstruction, reinforce exterior walls, and remove the interior walls.
ASU Three Rivers is working with SCM Architects in preparation of the project. Ryan Biles, Project Architect with SCM, said “SCM is pleased that ASU Three Rivers has received funding for the first phase of work to restore the historic Ritz Theater. This project represents a unique opportunity to rescue an important community asset for downtown Malvern, the arts community, and the College.” Biles continued, “By investing in the historic architectural fabric of the Malvern Historic District, ASU Three Rivers is making a commitment to the revitalization and enrichment of the community for years to come. Our design team is excited about this opportunity.”
Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, who serves as secretary of the ANCRC said, “The ANCRC Trust Fund has funded over $400 million in projects since its first grants were made in 1989. Many well-loved buildings and properties have been saved for future generations by the fund, and we are a better state for it.”
ANCRC has funded the restoration and preservation of such iconic properties as the Arkansas State Capitol, Old Main on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus, Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County and the Johnny Cash Home in Dyess.
The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) was established by Arkansas Act 729 of 1987. Its grants and trust fund are managed for the acquisition, management and stewardship of state-owned lands, or the preservation of state-owned historic sites, buildings, structures or objects which the ANCRC determines to be of value for recreation or conservation purposes. The properties are to be used, preserved and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.