Catawba College to expand its presence in downtown Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

SALISBURY — Catawba College is expanding its presence in downtown Salisbury. The college has leased a commercial building at 305 and 307 Lee St., in the same block as Lee Street Theatre, and is developing plans to use the new space.

Catawba’s new two-story brick facility offers office, workshop and potential classroom space. It also offers the college much needed swing space if renovations are needed in any classroom building on campus.

In 2016, Lee Street Theatre and Catawba announced a partnership that would allow Catawba students in theater arts and music additional opportunities to perform and work in a venue different than the ones on campus.

Craig Kolkebeck, who had served as Catawba’s scenic shop manager, assumed the position of both interim artistic director for Lee Street and assistant professor of theater arts at Catawba. In addition, he worked with Lee Street to direct shows, oversee the artistic output of guest directors, assist in developing the 2017-18 season of productions and promote those productions. He also worked with Catawba’s Department of Music on opportunities for the ADP and Vernaculars to perform at Lee Street.

Catawba will close its Downtown Catawba storefront in the Plaza Building near Main and West Innes streets at the end of May after three years in that location. It was the site of special programming, including music performances, readings and presentations during the three years it was open, but limited nearby parking and the space’s low occupancy cap were problematic.

Admissions information was available in the space as well as Catawba clothing and related items available for purchase.

When it opened in April 2014, Catawba College President Brien Lewis envisioned the Downtown Catawba venue as a more tangible way to connect the campus, located about two miles from the square, to downtown Salisbury.

“This storefront gave us a presence in the downtown area that we have not had,” Lewis said. “Downtown Catawba gave us an opportunity to be much more than a well-kept secret.”