SEBRING — In recent years, the Highlands Little Theatre has upgraded its sound system and installed theater-style seating.
Now, the theater will soon begin a project to expand the outside deck by about 20 feet, from the door of the lounge to the corner of the building.
“We’re always working to improve what we have,” said Frank Oberhausen, a longtime member who has championed the project.
Work should begin shortly on the deck expansion and it’s expected to be completed by the Moonlight Martinis and Meatballs fundraising event at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9, Oberhausen said.
Much of the deck will be enclosed and there will be tables and chairs, he said. It will have fans.
The deck is being extended toward Lake Jackson and it provides a scenic view of the body of water.
While standing on the existing deck, Oberhausen said, “To me (the idea of extending it) was obvious. Look at this view. Why not take advantage of it?”
The extended deck will likely be used for special events, such as during the Fourth of July where people could see the annual fireworks display. Oberhausen said he has heard of interest in having weddings on the deck.
The $35,000 cost was raised through donations, Oberhausen said. No tax dollars are involved.
However, since the city of Sebring owns the building, Highlands Little Theatre needed approval from the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Sebring City Council, which it got.
During the past several decades, a lot has changed on the property.
Originally, Oberhausen said, only a band shell existed on the land. Then a USO building was constructed for personnel at the former Hendricks Army Airfield.
In more recent years, he said, the building was used as a teen center. By the 1980s, the building’s condition had deteriorated.
Highlands Little Theatre, meanwhile, was organized in 1974. For eight years, the theater had performances at various locations.
Then, Highlands Little Theatre leased the building on May 12, 1982. The first play was Tea House of the August Moon. Eventually, the building was expanded and a new stage was built.
The Drs. Thakker Pavilian opened during the summer of 2004.