It's moving time for some local arts organizations because of changes at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center in downtown Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Shakespeare Company is in talks to take over the cultural center from the city of Las Vegas, which has been seeking a new tenant who will assume the center's operating expenses.
Two groups that have long used the center -- the Rainbow Youth Theatre Company and the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra -- are heading to new homes.
The city and the Shakespeare company are scheduled to talk this month about the group's proposal to lease the center, said Dan Decker, artistic director of the company.
Any final deal must be approved by the Las Vegas City Council before it can go into effect.
The goal is for the company to take over the center by July 1, when the city's fiscal year begins.
According to city documents, one aspect of the lease will be that the tenant assumes all operating costs for the building. Last year, those costs were $146,700 for utilities, repairs and maintenance.
The youth orchestra is nailing down the details for a likely new home at the Maryland Events Center, 1801 S. Maryland Parkway, which belongs to the Clark County School District.
"Some of it is not determined yet as far as utilities or cost, but it certainly will be less than fair market value," said Bev Patton, the orchestra's executive director. The market value would probably be $70,000 or $80,000, which is too expensive for the orchestra, she said.
"We can probably move in as soon as May," Patton said. "Everything is not all solved. It's not a panacea. There are certain issues and we've got to find ways to work around that."
One issue is that the orchestra's operating costs will increase, because it was able to use Reed Whipple for free. The orchestra also uses instructional staff from the school district, and with education cuts looming at the state, the orchestra might have to pick up more of those costs as well.
"It's a balancing act," said Patton, adding that the orchestra's registration fees have gone up to help defray the costs. Even so, interest is high, and 400 students have signed up to audition for the next season.
The Rainbow Youth theater, meanwhile, is set to move to the Charleston Heights Arts Center in June. The theater is a city program run by the Office of Cultural Affairs.
Last year, the city proposed closing the Reed Whipple center, a 48-year-old building on Las Vegas Boulevard across from the Cashman Center, as part of a package of budget cuts.
Supporters of the theater company and the orchestra rallied and won a temporary reprieve, but city officials said long-term plans for redeveloping the property remained in place.
The city sought proposals for the property in February, saying the property is under-used by the city and a drain on the general fund, which has seen steady cuts over the past three years because of poor economic conditions.
Officials sought projects that would fit with what's known as the city's Cultural Corridor and with Reed Whipple, which has two theaters, a dance studio, gallery space, kitchen and conference rooms.
Contact reporter Alan Choate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-229-6435.