Hard to believe, but Fitzgerald's will be undergoing major renovations toward summer's end. And no, it won't involve tearing down the sagging eyesore on the corner of Studemont and White Oak and starting from scratch -- as some might have hoped. But the club will be adding floor space and vastly improving the appearance of the 90-year-old building, which was originally built bay-house style, on stilts. August 15 is tentatively slated as the final night of live music before work begins; construction should last well into the fall.

While details are still sketchy, owner Sarah Fitzgerald promises the makeover -- presided over by well-known Heights architect Mark Van Doren -- will be extensive. The most significant changes involve raising the top floor four feet to allow more headroom in Zelda's, below, as well as tearing down the garage apartment at the rear of the structure and replacing it with a room that could be used as restaurant space. There are also plans to expand the upstairs to accommodate more patrons, and tables and chairs. A revamped sound system is also likely, as is a whole new backstage.

Among the more superficial renovations, the exterior will be re-sided, and a patio is planned for the ground level.

"We're going to keep it looking like a historic building -- which it is," says Fitzgerald, who adds that the cost will be well within the six-figure range.

When work is finished, Fitzgerald has plans to jigger the entertainment lineup to appeal to a variety of ages -- not just the kids. "I'm gonna pull some older stuff in," she promises, "broaden it a bit."

Now, if she could only do something about the parking.


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