Proposed MOH Rehabilitation & Renovation Project

Artistic Rendering Of Renovated Memorial Opera House

At their June 28, 2022 meeting, the Porter County Council was presented with an overview of the plan to rehabilitate and renovate the Memorial Opera House. You can VIEW THE VIDEO OF THE PRESENTATION

The Presentation

You can view the slideshow below and/or DOWNLOAD THE SLIDESHOW PDF.

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Why Now?

This is the next step in addressing long deferred maintenance and space needs in County owned buildings that began in 2017 and included a new Porter County Animal Shelter, Porter County Administration Center Plaza upgrades, rehabilitiation of the Porter County Courthouse, renovation of the Expo Center, purchase and renovation of the 157 Franklin Courthouse Annex, new Highway Department Sub-Station in South Haven and the  renovation of the Courts building & new office building at the North County Government Annex.

The Memorial Opera House was built in 1893 as a living memorial to our civil war veterans and a dedicated public gathering space. As a matter of fact, our local officials at the time went downstate, lobbied for and received a legislative change that allowed funding to be used to build a memorial community building rather than a static "unwanted monument." That vision has served our community well for over a century. 

Over its 130 year history, MOH became a popular spot for political rallies, concerts, lectures, plays and social events as well as a meeting place for the GAR. Later, when motion pictures came out, it became the first theater in Valparaiso to show them. Many famous people appeared on that stage, including President Theodore Roosevelt, music composer and march king John Philip Sousa, and the Marx Brothers. Among the stars, though, was one who deserves special recognition. Beulah Bondi, a local girl, was given a rave review for the title role in “Little Lord Fauntleroy” when she was just 8 years old. Bondi went on to Hollywood and you most likely remember her as Jimmy Stewart's mom in "It's A Wonderful Life". 

LEARN MORE About The History Of The Memorial Opera House.

Our county's population and performing arts community has grown enormously over the past 130 years. This project will allow us to preserve this living memorial and cultural landmark, as well as allow it to meet current needs and keep our forefathers' vision viable now and into the future.

How Much Will This Cost and How Will It Be Paid For?

The total estimated construction cost is $6.5 million. The Opera House project, along with building a new County Highway Garage, will be funded by a revenue bond. The payments on the revenue bond will be offset by the Porter County Government Non-Profit Foundation's investment earnings from the sale of the old hospital. In effect, it will have zero impact on taxpayers. This same process was used for the Administration Center Plaza, Valparaiso Courthouse, Expo Center, 157 Franklin Center and the Courts building & new office building at the North County Government Annex.