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Theater facade gets new look
Look inside Rodgers Theatre right now and you would see a dark, gutted hole, but the outside of the 76-year-old Corning icon is starting to look good as it receives a much-needed face-lift.
This week, local company CR Construction and Tile is placing new, olive-green tile on the front of the theater right over the old, marked-up tile.
Richard Rezendes, owner of CR Construction, said most of the work be completed by his company so far has been voluntary.
The work is part of a renovation project to convert the building into a community center, as well as a movie theater. Funding for this part of the remodeling was made possible through a $46,300 grant provided by the McConnell Foundation through the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, according to Kyle Lauderdale, Corning Community Foundation board member, which is overseeing the project.
Last week the bathrooms and concession stand area of the building were gutted. Also where the side loge seats once sat, walls have been put up on each side for an office and storage area.
As money has come available, the foundation has moved quickly to see the project come to fruition, but unfortunately those funds are starting to run out.
"We are starting to look for new funding sources," Lauderdale said. "That will include fundraisers, applying for grants, and hopefully donations."
The foundation's most recent donation was a $500 grant provided by the Tehama County Arts Council, The California Arts Council and The One Million Plates for the Arts Project. Those funds were used to purchase five 60-inch round folding banquet tables that will be used for community events when the theater's renovations have been completed.
Work on the theater has been under way for some time, but there is a lot more to do.
Once the tile is up the front will receive new stucco and paint and the display cases will be receive new frames and glass.
Gutting the theater's seating area, bathrooms and concession area was made possible through the use of $220,000 in city park funds.
Using park funds, $50,000 raised by Friends of the Theater, and a $35,000 grant from the California Energy Commission's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, other renovation work has included a new roof and ventilation, ceiling insulation, heating and air-conditioning units, ducting equipment, lighting improvements, and the installation of structural support framing and minor concrete work.
The city-owned theater was closed in 2006 due to its condition problems and not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Not willing to see the theater remain closed, members of the community came to the rescue and formed the Friends of the Theater committee, which in turn organized the nonprofit Corning Community Foundation.
The foundation is now spearheading the efforts to renovate the building.
Estimated cost to complete the renovations and re-open the theater is $800,000, but that depends on how much of the work can be performed by volunteers.
Built in 1935 by the Rodgers family, the theater is one of the few giant single-screen movie houses left in the state.
In 1991, it was endowed to the city by Daniel and Wealthy Rodgers, along with $50,000 for upkeep.