Donation to fund Mesa Theater renovation

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis Community College plans to use a $500,000 donation to renovate Mesa Theater on Main Street.

Liliana Castillo

Clovis Community College plans to use a $500,000 donation to renovate the historical Mesa Theater on Main Street and rename it the Norman and Vi Petty Performing Arts Center.

The donation comes from the Joe and Charlyne Sisler Foundation.

College president John Neibling said the donation was given for renovating the theater and two adjacent buildings to the south.

The Mesa Theater, which will be used for the theater department, was owned by Norman Petty and his estate donated it to the college in 2003.

Neibling said the college is in the beginning stages of the process but hopes to renovate the theater and what used to be the Red Cross building to be used as offices and classrooms.

The building between the Red Cross building and the theater will be demolished and will provide space for the addition of a green room and new bathrooms for the theater.

Neibling said renovating the Mesa Theater has been on the college’s priority list.

“This is such a godsend,” Neibling said. “There is no state money for such a project and we don’t know when there will be.”

Neibling said the college plans to maintain the historical value of the theater and the legacy of Norman and Vi Petty.

“We will be consulting with the Petty trustees to make sure it’s done in a fashion that will be appropriate for the memory of the Pettys,” he said.

He said the project should take a year.

Randy Petty, whose family was close to Norman and Vi Petty, said he hopes the renovations include preserving architectural acoustics.

“I hope they keep that intact and replace the things that need to be replaced. I’m excited about it,” he said.

Petty helped organized the Clovis Music Festival and said the board wanted to incorporate the Mesa Theater.

“It will be awesome to get something up and going with the festival,” he said.