Story by Rachel Sande

The Rexburg Tabernacle is available to community members to attend events and shows. However, some changes have recently occurred.

“We took out nine 12-foot benches and four 20-foot benches and they were all right up at the front of the stage area of the tabernacle,” said Jackie Rawlins, the Rexburg Cultural Arts Director. You were literally looking straight up in the air, trying to see the stage and you couldn’t.”

There were multiple goals going into this project.

“We’re just looking for more ways to use the venues that we have,” Rawlins said. “We have the Romance Theater, we have the Tabernacle Civic Center and the Museum and we are trying to have more opportunities for more people in the community and different types of groups to be able to use those buildings more.”

The process of this project was involved, but not as involved as people may believe.

“So the decision was made to present that idea to the Restoration committee,” Rawlins said. “The Mayor is part of that, the city councilwoman is on that, and then about 10 other people. Community members and members here in the city hall. They looked at the space, they discussed the options, and then that’s when the decision was made that yes, that is what we should go forward to do.”

When starting a project it is important to pay attention to the effects it could have.

“I don’t think it will affect it in a negative way, in that sense, I think it can only offer more options,” Rawlins said.

This project has brought many positive changes to the Tabernacle.

“The great thing about the chairs, is that, for instance, if we had people in wheelchairs, we had like five of them, we could actually remove chairs, and make room for them, whereas before, there were only a couple spaces available around those benches,” Rawlins said. “We can put as many chairs up as we need, or we can take them down. If it’s going to be a small group, and they want chairs up, we can put 20 chairs up, the other day I think we had 130 chairs up in the front area. So the versatility is really open to what they need for that event.”

With this change and any others that may happen around the city, it is always important to try and get answers for yourself if you have concerns.

“We aren’t making changes just to make changes,” said Rawlins. “We are really trying to see what we can do, to involve more people in the community, to bring in more volunteers, to have these venues accessible to everybody, and different groups, not just the same two groups. My door is always open, I’ve published my phone number in the newspaper, and if you have questions, or if you are wondering if what you heard was true or not true, please call. Call me, talk out your concerns.”