Though the Gloria Theatre screen has been dark and the seats empty since the last March 15 showing of the movie “I Still Believe,” the Urbana theater, owned and operated by the GrandWorks Foundation, has been anything but quiet.
During the lull in movies and other events, contractors and volunteers have been busy making extensive progress on renovations and restoration of the historic facility, says Staci Weller, Chief Executive Officer of the GrandWorks Foundation.
· Installing a new ticket booth on the south side of the entryway and removing the old ticket booth, opening up space at the center of the main lobby
· Restoring the main lobby’s art deco ceiling, which Warren Grimes added when he purchased the theater in the 1940s. For many years a drop ceiling has hidden this distinctive feature.
· Refinishing the walls of the lobby with new dry wall
· Framing and drywalling the theater’s café, which, when completed, will be accessible from the lobby
· Installing a new HVAC system for the main and secondary theater lobbies
· Building a new office on the south side of the secondary lobby, just outside the theater auditorium. This will replace the current office which will be removed to make room for new expanded restrooms that will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.
· Adding new insulation above the foyer and café
· Completing roof and other repairs
“When we’re able to reopen, I know that theatergoers will be amazed by the changes since they were last here,” Weller said. “Thanks to our contractors and loyal volunteers we have made tremendous progress.”
She added, “There’s still much to be done, and as a nonprofit organization, the GrandWorks Foundation continues to rely on the gifts and financial support of community members, organizations and businesses.”
Two fundraising opportunities are currently in progress, Weller said:
-A fundraising campaign on the Gloria Theatre by GrandWorks Facebook page
-The Sponsor A Seat campaign, at gloriatheatre.org, in which supporters can sponsor a theater seat, or multiple seats. Donors names will be inscribed on a display in the theater lobby.
The Gloria Theatre is one of three projects managed by the GrandWorks Foundation. The nonprofit foundation, with the mission to reach, restore and revive the community, also produces an uplifting, thought-provoking podcast, “The Big Questions,” and is developing plans for the Urbana Youth Center.
Information from GrandWorks Foundation.