MONROEVILLE, Alabama, USA /PRNewswire/ — On opening night of the annual production of the “To Kill a Mockingbird” play in downtown Monroeville, Georgia-Pacific announced that it is sponsoring the construction of an outdoor amphitheater to host the play beginning in 2012. A preliminary design was revealed to patrons attending this season’s first performance, which is based on Monroeville native Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
Georgia-Pacific’s donation to the Monroe County Heritage Museum, which sponsors the play, represents a $150,000 investment in 2011, with an additional commitment of $25,000 over five years for maintenance and repairs. The amphitheater will include portable seating, a courtyard, and improved landscaping for the west lawn of the historic Old Monroe County Courthouse and Museum. The area serves as a permanent location for the play and the project will enhance the site as a venue for other community events, concerts, receptions and plays.
“The Monroe County Heritage Museum is proud to have the Old Courthouse Museum chosen as the recipient of Georgia-Pacific’s community investment,” said Stephanie Rogers, executive director of the Monroe County Heritage Museum. “We see the international draw that “To Kill a Mockingbird” brings to our hometown and we appreciate that Georgia-Pacific, an international company, seeks to invest in this unique and special part of Monroeville’s heritage. This will be a handsome enhancement to our downtown square and an attractive venue for our annual production as well as for other museum and community-related events to be held downtown.”
Georgia-Pacific’s Alabama River Cellulose operation is the largest manufacturer in Monroe County. Since acquiring the pulp facility in July 2010, Georgia-Pacific has worked to identify a community investment project that would be meaningful to the entire community, fill a recognized need and demonstrate its long-term commitment to and support of the community. A local steering committee determined that an amphitheater would add the greatest value to improve the community’s infrastructure, support tourism efforts and enhance the cultural and fine arts heritage that has become a significant trademark of Monroeville.
The amphitheater project is the latest addition to more than $2 million in community investments made in Alabama during the past five years by Georgia-Pacific and other companies owned by Koch Industries. Nationally, Koch companies contribute tens of millions of dollars annually through in-kind giving and direct contributions to causes and organizations focusing on economic education and educational programs, arts and culture, health and human services, community and civic causes, and environmental projects.
“Georgia-Pacific supports thousands of initiatives and projects that strengthen our facility communities all across the country, and our history of support in Monroe County has been the same,” said Peggy Jaye, public affairs manager at the company’s Alabama River Cellulose operations. “We look forward to dedicating the new amphitheater at the opening of next year’s play. We are proud to help contribute to Monroe County’s legacy as the state’s Literary Capital.”
The amphitheater project design and construction will be led by a team consisting of The Architects Group (TAG), CSA Group Inc., and JubileeScape, all of Mobile. The team was chosen by the steering committee based on a preliminary design. Construction is expected to start after the play’s current season ends in late May. Plans call for the amphitheater to be dedicated on opening night of the 2012 season next spring.
Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs 40,000 people at 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. Georgia-Pacific is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, LLC, a privately-owned company headquartered in Wichita, Kan. Koch companies and subsidiaries employ more than 70,000 people worldwide.
In Alabama, Koch companies employ more than 2,800 people directly and support 13,700 Alabama jobs in total. The company’s total compensation and benefits in Alabama is nearly $175 million annually.