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Carco Theatre undergoes period of change

Carco Theatre has undergone many changes since Puget Sound Access took over in February.  - Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter
Carco Theatre has undergone many changes since Puget Sound Access took over in February.
— image credit: Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter

Since Puget Sound Access, the public access station, moved into Renton's Carco Theatre building in February 2013, it has been a flurry of activity and a revamping period for the station, according to John Klockner, executive director.

"We've learned more about how people really want to have the building used and how its the case that we can best service the clients that are coming to the building," he said in a recent interview at the theatre.

The building was assessed for usage and a number of improvements were made to Carco Theatre as the new management came in. The wireless system was updated as well as security cameras installed in the lobby. There's better communications capabilities throughout the building.

Music can be played in the lobby and what's happening on-stage can be heard there too. The basement has been cleared of a lot of excess storage and junk to accommodate overflow from the theatre area. The floor that once leaked there, has been replaced.

"Now that we're paying rent into the city, the city can now afford to do improvements here and at other locations because they now have an income stream that's not offset with costs," Klockner said.

According to Klockner, one of the advantages Puget Sound Access had moving in was that the building was already functioning.

"So that means that there were booked clients and there were kind of a tradition of how things worked here that were quite good," Klockner said.

But it also created quite the busy time for the public access group. While groups were coming into the theatre, Klockner said his company was having to move and keep up their productions for Puget Sound Access.

"And we were trying to get everything all coordinated and moved, so very, very busy," he said.

There are currently two people on staff and Klockner is in the process of hiring a third. Public access channels have changed a lot in the last few years, especially on the West Coast, Klockner said.

Stations used to get a franchise fee cut from monies allocated by different cities. Now, public access doesn't get any money from cities and hasn't for several years, he said. In Renton, there are three components to Puget Sound Access in the city: Carco Theatre, Puget Sound Access TV and Puget Productions.The latter is associated with professional level activities, including software, hardware development and professional video of multimedia.

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