Leaders from Davis & Elkins College and the Randolph County community are coming together to bring new life to the College’s outdoor amphitheatre and expand usage possibilities for the structure. Work will soon begin on what will be named the Citizens Bank of West Virginia Amphitheatre at D&E with hopes of completion in September.
The newly designed amphitheatre will feature a roof to allow for performances in inclement weather and lighting for nighttime events. In addition, the structure will have capabilities for a variety of production equipment. The current concrete platform and steps will be enhanced.
The facility has served the College and community for decades as the stage for the coronation of Mountain State Forest Festival Queen Silvia as well as a venue for concerts, performances and celebrations.
A ceremonial groundbreaking took place in early July with officials from the College, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, the city of Elkins, Randolph County Commission and Applied Construction Solutions, Inc. (ACS).
“Breaking ground for a new amphitheater is further evidence of the commitment of Davis & Elkins College to serve the Randolph County community,” said D&E President Chris A. Wood. “This stage will be the gathering place for the greater community for the coronation of Queen Silvia at the Mountain State Forest Festival, concerts, fireworks, theatrical productions and recitals among so much more. The generosity of Citizens Bank of West Virginia, in addition to the support of the city of Elkins and the Randolph County Commission, makes this new structure possible to serve us all for many years to come. We are also grateful to Applied Construction Solutions of Bridgeport for their contribution to work within the established budget.”
Citizens Bank of West Virginia offered lead funding for the project knowing the community-at-large would benefit from wide-ranging activities, entertainment and various other productions that could take place at the new amphitheatre.
“We are excited to invest in the College and a permanent open-air performance venue that will serve and enliven both D&E and the greater community,” said Nathaniel S. Bonnell, President & CEO of Citizens Bank. “We applaud the determination of the contractors to have The Citizens Bank of WV Amphitheatre ready to crown Queen Silvia LXXXIV during the 2022 Mountain State Forest Festival. This new venue will provide a better experience for performing artists and organizations utilizing the stage as well as for the audiences.”
Earlier this year, Elkins City Council agreed to allocate $43,746 and the Randolph County Commission voted to contribute $50,000, both sourced from their American Rescue Plan Act fund.
“The City values our close relationship with Davis & Elkins College and views the investment of ARPA funds in the renovation of the amphitheatre as an investment in our entire community,” said Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton. “We look forward to seeing the renewal of this space and to many more positive partnerships with D&E in the future.”
“We’re glad we could assist with a new amphitheatre for the Forest Festival and community to enjoy,” said Randolph County Commissioner Chris Siler.
Applied Construction Solutions agreed to perform the work within the nearly $275,000 budget as a community partner that shares unique ties to the College. Kara Alvarez, who works at her family-owned ACS, served as Queen Silvia LXXX when Davis & Elkins College Vice President for Institutional Advancement Scott Goddard was director general in 2016.
“This a really good asset to the Elkins community, the Forest Festival and D&E, and we’re excited to make it happen,” Alvarez said.
As a Randolph County resident, ACS Project Manager Derrick Pritt is looking forward to seeing project take shape.
“Several of our employees live in the area and that makes it all the more exciting to help the community and visitors by bringing the amphitheatre back to life,” Pritt said.