St. Catharine interested in Centre Square

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By Stephen Lega

Monday evening representatives of the Centre Square Foundation Board and St. Catharine College spoke with the Lebanon City Council regarding the possibility of bringing artistic and educational programming to the community.

Roger Marcum, the executive vice president for St. Catharine, said the college is looking to offer more programming in Marion County. And they would like to offer that programming at Centre Square. Marcum added that this is, in part, a response to feedback the college received from community members that they would like the college to have more of a presence in Marion County.

The proposal presented to the Centre Square Foundation Board calls for St. Catharine to have use of classroom space, office space and Angelic Hall, although the college would still need to schedule use of the hall through the city.

"We are very interested in doing this," Marcum said.

Councilman Bill Pickerill said he has been a cheerleader for St. Catharine, but he also has to look out for the city. He asked if the proposed rental fee would be enough.

Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw said others shared Pickerill's concern, but Crenshaw added that he believed the proposed budget presented by the Centre Square board would allow the city to break even or come close to doing so regarding Centre Square.

Melissa Knight of the Centre Square board said she has also been working with St. Catharine's fine arts committee, which is seeking to expand the artistic programming in central Kentucky. This could include visual arts, music and performing arts.

Knight added that it would be difficult to find another organization that could bring the mix of educational and cultural programs that St. Catharine could.

Pickerill also reminded the council that it has an agreement with the Marion County Historical Society regarding the use of the third floor of the Centre Square Fine Arts Center. He asked what the historical society thought of the proposal.

Chris Hamilton, a member of the historical society, said the proposal had also been presented to the society's members. He said the society members were in favor of the idea.

The proposal includes allowing the historical society to set up displays throughout the hallways and open spaces in the fine arts center.

At the end of the discussion, the council gave its preliminary approval to the proposal and to allowing the city attorney to work on contracts with St. Catharine and with the historical society. The final agreement would require approval from the council before it goes into effect.