Begun in 2009 and approved in May of this year, the Pro-Auditorio Project raised more than one million pesos with cultural events and other fund-raisers, which are to be matched with equal funds from the federal and Jalisco governments.
The funds were designated for the improvement of Lakeside’s 30-year-old and busy Auditorio de la Ribera del Lago in Ajijic’s La Floresta neighborhood. Primary improvements, identified by local retired engineer John Keeling and acoustics architect Thom Weeks, were centered on acoustical problems — problems so pronounced that many artists hesitated to perform in the building. Weeks prepared a report specifying the essential elements of an upgrade, providing the basis for an application to the government for funding assistance under a program for improvements to cultural buildings.Though Keeling had reason to be hopeful that the improvements would be finished by the end of summer for the upcoming cultural season, to date, none of the physical changes have been made.
During the early summer Weeks and local architect Barbara Castor completed construction plans and also obtained the cost estimates that are required by the Secretary of Urban Development. Even though the civil inspections and permits for the project were prepared by the Municipality of Chapala, Pro-Auditorio had to pay firms for the detailed designs and cost estimates for the electrical, air conditioning, acoustic and structural work.
Last week, Keeling met with architect Modesto Aceves, director of cultural heritage in the state Department of Culture and architect Alfonso Samano, director of contracting in the Jalisco Department of Urban Development (which handles the capital spending projects of other state government departments). During the meeting Samano stated that the contract bidding process for the auditorium upgrade would commence ‘next week.’ Contractors will then have 15 days to prepare their estimates and specifications on the web. Selection of the winning contractor (or contractors) should be accomplished by mid-September with the auditorium ready for events by mid-October and local cultural promotion groups are banking on it, with events scheduled in the building this fall.