PENDLETON - Cheryl Marier, executive director of the Oregon East Symphony, asked the City Council Tuesday to contribute $10,000 for a study of the Vert Auditorium.
After discussing the request, the council decided to gather more public comment and address the issue again in two weeks.
The study would examine the structural systems, acoustical properties and other work that needs to be done to renovate the Vert.
While a study was done about a year and a half ago of all the performing arts venues in the city, "we need to go back and look at the Vert in a very specific way," Marier said.
The study, by Bora Architects Inc., would cost $16,000, she said. City Manager Larry Lehman said the $10,000 the OES sought from the city could be available within the city budget either this fiscal year or next. But several council members wondered if a study on the Vert was the most cost effective option.
Council member Ron Hughes pointed out that the previous study said that renovating the high school auditorium was the most cost effective option for the city. He asked why that wasn't the option being pursued.
"The people I talked to want to survey the Vert Auditorium," Marier said. "The people who use the Vert want it to be preserved."
Additionally, the school district could not afford to contribute in a significant way to the study, and there is also the issue of ambiance, Marier added. The Vert and the high school have a different ambiance, she said. Many people prefer the Vert.
Matt Henry, the chorale representative for OES, pointed out that the high school auditorium was designed for a high school, so it has that feel.
"The Vert is a jewel," he said.
Marier also pointed out that the Convention Center was not designed for performances and might lose its current multipurpose function. Developing a performing arts center for the community would be more expensive than renovating any of the buildings, she said.
City Council member Connie Wright said that the Vert was an important part of keeping the arts a viable part of the community.
"I think it's really important that we look as a community, 'do we want a community based facility for the performing arts,'" she said.
City Council President Steve Taylor noted that the money was just for a study on the Vert, not improvements.