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Academy of Music Launches Campaign to Raise Funds for Restroom Renovations

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton’s historic Academy of Music Theatre announced its “We Care!” campaign, which will expand and renovate the public restrooms in the 130-year-old landmark to provide more toilets and sinks and upgrade the facilities for cleanliness and hygiene.

Among the improvements slated for the $325,000 project are the expansion of the existing restroom facilities and the installation of new plumbing, HEPA-filtered hand dryers, touch-free toilet and sink fixtures, and partitions to serve a larger patron population, according to Debra J’Anthony, executive director of the independent nonprofit arts organization that manages the city-owned building.

“With more than 60,000 patrons each year attending live performances, films, and educational programs, the need to expand the restrooms with added safety measures is due,” J’Anthony said.

The size of the ‘stalls only’ restroom (previously referred to as the women’s restroom) will be expanded to include 10 new water-efficient toilet stalls. Four new touch-free sinks will be added.

The ‘stalls and urinals’ restroom (previously referred to as the men’s restroom) will also be expanded, replacing the two existing toilet stalls and three existing urinals with four new water-efficient toilet stalls and four water-efficient urinals. The design of this restroom will provide privacy separation between the stalls and urinals so the stalls may be used gender-neutrally. Both restrooms will have new, state-of-the-art heat and ventilation installed, which will exhaust 100% of the room air, continuously bringing in fresh outside air. Both restrooms will receive new wall, floor, and ceiling finishes. These renovations will provide better service and a safer environment for the patrons of the theater.

The project is led by Northampton-based Thomas Douglas Architects, whose previous design for the renovation of the Academy of Music’s auditorium earned a Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award.

The Academy secured $225,000 last winter for the project from state and foundation sources, including the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Funds, Smith College, and the Beveridge Family Foundation. The “We Care!” campaign aims to raise the remaining $100,000 from the Pioneer Valley community.

“We plan to have these improvements completed before we reopen in the fall and welcome our community back,” J’Anthony said.

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