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A new role for movie house?

SCERA building may be used for cultural events Orem building may be used for cultural events

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OREM — Orem's quest for a cultural arts center may be found in a city landmark that is known for not showing any R-rated movies.

Joyce Johnson, who helps lead the board that oversees the SCERA show house, says it is time to shy away from showing movies and use the historic building for other cultural uses.

"I think the movies had their place and carried us for a long time," Johnson said. "But movies as we viewed them in the past at SCERA, I think that time has probably passed."

And what's in the future? Some say SCERA's theaters, once the only venue in Utah Valley where families could see G-rated Disney films, could be replaced by a symphony hall.

"Short term: The movie theater will stay," said SCERA President and CEO Daryl Berlin. "We're thinking about doing some renovations that would allow us to turn it into a dual facility so that we could do concerts inside."

A symphony hall is one renovation alternative the SCERA board is willing to take, Berlin said. Any renovations would have to be paid by Orem taxpayers through a bond issuance.

Johnson said a symphony hall is important to any community.

"I can't think of anything that is more important," Johnson said. "It's kind of a completion of a civilized society. We definitely need that element in our society. We don't have that right now."

Plans to renovate the show house operated by SCERA, short for Sharon's Cultural Educational Recreational Association, are still up in the air. But the resolution allows SCERA to get reimbursed for any changes. As the city's contracted cultural arm, the City Council adopted a reimbursement resolution to pay back the SCERA for any renovations.

The city has limited funds for cultural arts — but Johnson said SCERA is just planning for future opportunities.

"I think everyone is very well aware that the money right now is not there, but you can never tell when an opportunity might come to get the money in some way or another," Johnson said. "You need to have a plan in place so you can utilize that when it does happen."

A public hearing on the possible changes at SCERA is set for Aug. 5.

E-MAIL: ldethman@desnews.com