The historic JLJ Auditorium is Napoleon's only indoor venue with permanent seating, quality sound and staging to accommodate larger productions.
When architectural plans to build a new elementary and middle school included the demolition of this venue, a group of concerned residents formed a nonprofit to gather expert advice on the cost to renovate the facility, and its surrounding components, to develop a multi-purpose center to maintain and revive the quality of life for fellow residents.
Our vision includes a renovation plan that will establish a state-of-the-art community/cultural center with cafeteria and reception hall space, meeting rooms, a visual and performing arts auditorium, and gymnasium areas. The multi-purpose facility would serve as a gathering place for many residents and community organizations. We recognize there may be multiple phases in such an undertaking including re-establishing occupancy with varied educational programs.
Perspective and Mission
The residents of the Napoleon Area School District voted to work with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to build a new elementary and middle school building located next to the current Napoleon High School campus. The architect’s plans included the demolition of the historic JLJ Auditorium built in 1935 with the rest of the Central Middle School complex. These historic facilities would be replaced at the new site with a gymnatorium, a shared facility between athletics and the performing arts for both junior high and high school.
Although conveniently located, problems of this new facility consisted of scheduling, awkward access to seating at athletic or musical events, sound/lighting issues, and inadequate seating for larger musical productions or events.
That was when a group of individuals formed the Napoleon Civic Center foundation to save this beautiful historic building to benefit all residents. Goals include:
Everyone touring the JLJ Auditorium is stunned and thrilled to see that the building remains in excellent shape. Restoration of the Auditorium is the cornerstone of this project.
Maintaining a versatile indoor auditorium for various events year round is essential for our community. Movies, plays and much more!
Preschool activities, Head Start, Enrichment Programs, and Tutoring as well as Cooking, Music, Dance and Art Classes will serve many people.
Club Sports, open gym, martial arts, fitness classes like yoga, Thai Chi and more. And don't forget beautiful green spaces outside for walking.
Business offices, community rooms, museum and gallery space would also be available.