Hoyt Sherman Place to Add Outdoor Sound Stage, Revive Historic Plan

(Des Moines, IA) -- Hoyt Sherman place celebrated its 100th anniversary last weekend. Now, they're looking to celebrate their final phase of expansion.

"The last piece of expansion, put an outdoor plaza and stage in the front lawn," Hoyt Sherman Place C-E-O Robert Warren said. Warren said the plan dates to 1910, a few years after the Des Moines Women's Club started operating in the former home of late Des Moines pioneer, Major Hoyt Sherman. The idea for an outdoor stage was introduced again while the theater was being built in the early 1920s, but the plan never materialized.

The theater completed an expansion on the north side of the building, adding an art studio and more backstage space, in early 2020, just days before the theater was temporarily closed due to the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Warren said they plan to begin construction on the outdoor stage and plaza as early as March if funding is available. Warren said active fundraising couldn't begin until the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Des Moines Historic Preservation Commission gave final approval. Both organizations have now endorsed the project, the city commission even approved the project in a unanimous decision.

The total estimated price tag including the new tree plantings is approximately $500,000. Bidding on the project is expected in the coming weeks. If construction begins on time, Warren says they plan to have everything finished before the free Jazz in July concerts this summer.

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