RUBY WALLAU | Staff PhotographerAt top, Chautauqua property owners view the choir rehearsal room in the back-of-house during a tour
For the past three years Chautauquans have been hearing about the $33 million Amphitheater renovation project, the largest public works project ever proposed for the Institution. The Amp project is the centerpiece of Chautauqua’s six-year Promise Campaign.
Doug Conroe, director of operations, accompanied by John Shedd, director of facilities and administrator of architectural and land use regulations, took over the Hultquist Center porch Wednesday morning to lead almost 30 community members in a discussion of “Lake and Storm Water Management.”
Chautauqua’s largest-ever public works project is on track. The much-discussed renovations for the Institution’s performance and information centerpiece have progressed according to schedule, said John Shedd, Chautauqua’s administrator of architectural and land use regulations and director of facilities.
John Shedd is having a busy summer.
The biggest news at Smith Memorial Library this season isn’t about books.
In the 1960s, children swimming in Chautauqua Lake really had only one thing to complain about: the muddy bottom. Today, due to nutrient runoff and other environmental concerns, children are sometimes prohibited from swimming in the lake at all.
High above the platform for world-renowned lecturers, resounding symphonies and graceful ballets, two men — armed with a device that looks like an old-fashioned transistor radio — investigate a dark, sweltering area of the Amphitheater few people aside from stagehands ever see.
A musty scent lingers in the dusty air, and the worn, wooden floor is wrought with holes that could send someone through with one miscalculated step. Light peeks in through the holes, revealing a small glimpse of the programs below, a stage for more than a century of Chautauqua tradition.
John Shedd, Chautauqua’s administrator of architecture and land use regulations and capital projects manager, is joined by John Hermanson, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.
They are on a hunt. Their target: bats.
Chautauqua’s grounds are at the same time historic and contemporary, the houses cut from the same cloth and incredibly diverse, the emphasis both on maintaining the integrity of the buildings and the environment. Is the Institution more a museum or a village? Should it reflect the 19th-century vision of the founders or the 21st-century minds of current Chautauquans?
Those difficult issues confronted the Architectural and Land Use Study Group, formed last season to look at the current regulations, whose work is coming to a conclusion at the end of this year.
On Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. in Smith Wilkes Hall, the group will present their current work reviewing and reconsidering the regulations and take questions from the community.
Chautauqua Institution is following what’s happening in new environmental solutions so it can be a leader in implementing them, said John Shedd, administrator of architecture and land use regulations and capital projects manager.
At Wednesday’s weekly discussion on the Hultquist Center porch, Institution leaders spoke to members of the community about the topic “Environmental Leadership” and the steps their departments are taking to reduce the Institution’s impact on the environment.
First, Jack Voelker, general manager of the Chautauqua Golf Club, spoke about the efforts Chautauquans might not know the golf club is taking to be more environmentally friendly.