As downtown Watertown’s iconic Goss Opera House prepares to officially reopen its doors six weeks from now, crews are speeding toward completion of renovating the 130-year-old building.
Just within the last few weeks, Friends of the Goss Executive Director Missy Sinner and FoG Board of Directors member Kristen Henderson said crews have installed many elements, including trim, doors and a new railing system, this week. The latest installations go along with the previous installations of a new sound and lighting system this winter and a multimillion dollar roof that was completed last fall. The installation of tile flooring in some side areas is approximately 80% completely.
According to Sinner, the recent improvements were made possible from a donation by Lee and Jan Schull from Building Products Inc. The Schulls’ donation of the new trim, doors and railing system helped recreate areas that were previously missing or extensively damaged.
Henderson said one side room on the third floor will remain untouched to preserve historical authenticity. Referred to as Annie’s room, the untouched room may be the one, or at least similar to one, where Goss resident Maud Alexander burned to death in 1936.
“I think it’s fair to say that every inch of the building has been touched with exception to the historic room,” Henderson said. “We’ll have a rope for that room to give it a piece of opera house charm. I think it will be a nice contrast to show kind of where it has been.”
Although the Goss is on track to open with a concert by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra on April 24, a capital campaign toward the Goss’ renovation is ongoing.
Henderson said the capital campaign sits just $78,000 away in donations to reach the campaign’s $4.75 million goal. An anonymous donor has offered match half of that $78,000 provided members of the public can donate the other $39,000 by this Sunday.
The large-scale donations, in both money and materials, will help give the Goss a premium and luxurious feel while allowing FoG to respect its small dollar donors.
“When people walk in, they will like the Goss is expensive,” Sinner said. “Whenever we packed a punch with something really cool that cost a little more, we found savings in 10 different areas to be able to do something special. We have been wise with our pennies.”
With concerts and events appealing to many types of demographics coming up, Sinner and Henderson cautioned that some features of the Goss, including the installation of fixed balcony seating in the opera hall, won’t be fully completed until the first few weeks have passed.
Regardless, by envisioning the Goss as a flexible event space, Henderson and Sinner reiterated the FoG’s hope that the Goss will heighten Watertown’s regional profile.
“I think that’s something we want to explore,” Henderson said. “It will probably not just be the Goss Opera House in Watertown but the Goss Opera House of South Dakota and the Midwest.”
Planned restaurant coming along
One of the biggest features of the Goss will be the new Mavericks Steak and Cocktails set to be located inside the building.
According to Sinner, the Goss’ opening will probably predate the opening of Mavericks, which has locations in Aberdeen and Deadwood as well as St. Cloud, Minnesota. Sinner cautiously estimated Mavericks may target a late spring or early summer opening.
Sinner said Mavericks will still primarily operate in a first floor kitchen as previous restaurants in the Goss have. However, Mavericks is expanding the kitchen to accommodate more preparation stations. On the Goss’ second floor, Mavericks will operate a banquet kitchen that has equipment on order. The banquet kitchen will be dedicated to serving opera house event attendees.