Schmeeckle Reserve Adding 200-Seat Amphitheater
By Jacob Mathias
A much-needed improvement to Schmeeckle Reserve is on the way.
Plans for a 200-seat amphitheater have been announced as an upcoming project by the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve, a non-profit group that supports the reserve. The amphitheater will replace the existing campfire and stage area as it no longer supports the reserve’s needs.
According to the reserve’s website, programs like the biannual Candlelight Hike Festival — which saw 2,800 visitors in 2016 — continue to grow. The number of visitors have outgrown the current space which has limited seating.
Audience members also have difficulty seeing the stage or hearing the presenters.
“For the kids that are there, that come to the program and surround the campfire and so forth, it is at best an unpleasant experience,” said Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve President Jerry Lineberger. “You can’t see, you can’t hear and there’s smoke in your face.”
The new space will be used for community programs, plays, live music and other performances.
The amphitheater seating will be constructed of sandstone, and a timber-framed stage will be installed with lighting and sound capabilities. Native landscaping will surround the amphitheater so it blends in with the existing natural environment.
The cost of the amphitheater has been estimated at $235,000 dollars. The group will raise about $110,000 through cash donations, with the remainder coming through in-kind services and materials. The Rettler Corporation, a Stevens Point-based landscaping and architecture firm has already donated time to develop a conceptual model of the amphitheater.
Fundraising will begin this fall and construction is planned for the summer of 2018. Local Schmeeckle Reserve supporters Dallas and Edith Pankowski have already offered to match every dollar donated, up to $40,000. The Pankowski’s approached the Friends after attending a Schmeeckle Reserve event.
“The community really likes Schmeeckle Reserve,” said Lineberger. “It’s a really amazing part of our community.”
Founded in 1977, Schmeeckle Reserve is a 280-acre nature conservancy bordering the north side of UW-Stevens Point containing over five miles of trails and boardwalks, a 24-acre lake and diverse wildlife.
Donations can be made online, by mail or in-person. Visit Schmeeckle Reserve’s website for information on the project and how to donate.