The Franco Center takes its residence in the former St. Mary’s Church located by the canal and the landmark Simard Payne (Railroad) Park in the area of downtown Lewiston known as Riverfront Island, in the heart of the “Little Canada” neighborhood. Our distinctive spire is one of the tallest sights you see as you drive in to town.
While no longer used as a place of worship, the reverence we have for our home and its original use is evident, from the preserved stained glass and original architectural elements (seen in the above photo), down to the way we approach our work here.
To date, an ongoing Capital Campaign has raised $6 million of the $7.6 million needed to complete the restoration and transformation of this beautiful old Gothic style building into a state-of-the-art 428 seat performing arts center, a museum, and a multi-purpose function hall. Both levels are used for concerts, dances, workshops, weddings, speakers, banquets, educational programs, and much more. It has become one of Lewiston-Auburn’s greatest community assets.
As beautiful as our building is, the need for upkeep and maintenance is never-ending. Another $1.3 million in masonry work is needed, and the stained glass windows are bowing and are cracked in places and require approximately $350,000 to repair and secure, a sprinkler system that will cost nearly $200,000 is needed for fire suppression in the upstairs Performance Hall — and that’s just what is needed. High on our “wish list” is air-conditioning in the upstairs Performance Hall, which becomes too warm in July and August to comfortably host performances and large audiences.