Most Viewed Stories
Rodgers Theatre renovation progress slow but steady
Some residents question whether the Rodgers Theatre renovation project will ever come to fruition.
While progress is slow, it is taking place.
The most recent step forward came on Tuesday when the City Council unanimously approved the solicitation of proposals to complete phase two of the project, which will include completion of the men's and women's restrooms, reconstruction of the loge seating area and extension of the stage area.
It has been six years since the 77-year-old Solano Street theater was been open to the public, and since that time the aged-interior has been pretty much gutted in an effort to make the theater a community center as well as a single large-screen movie theater, and bring it into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Corning Community Foundation is organizing the renovation project, with funding coming from a variety of sources.
Funding for the most recent project, in the amount of $49,000, comes from three separate sources, $4,600 in city park bonds, $21,000 from a McConnell Foundation grant, and $24,000 in ADA funds from the Northern California Cities Self Insurance Fund, according to City Manager John Brewer.
"The restroom fixtures for the project have already been purchased, and the asbestos, lead paint and tile in the restroom areas has been removed. It is now just a matter of installing the new fixtures," Brewer said.
Reconstruction of the loge seating area will include sloped seating in the center with a storage area constructed underneath. The two sides of the center loge area, planned for additional storage and an office space, will be completed when funding comes available.
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.
A $500 grant provided by the Tehama County Arts Council, The California Arts Council and The One Million Plates for the Arts Project was used to purchase five 60-inch round folding banquet tables to be utilized for community events when the theater's renovations have been completed.
A grant from the Shasta Regional Foundation made it possible for the much of the exterior work on the theater to be completed.
In September, CR Construction and Tile, under contract with the foundation, installed new, olive-green tile on the front of the theater's old, broken and marked-up tile and new frames and glass were installed on the theater's front display cases.
In November, students for Mendy Beardsley's Corning High School art class Marly Adams and Favian Castrejon, and Colton Peterson painted an original design on the ground just outside the theater's glass entrance doors.
"Corning Community Foundation wanted something unique for the entrance and so these three students each submitted a design to the foundation," Beardsley said. "The foundation liked what they saw from all three designs so the students selected parts of each design and collaborated in putting it all together."
Featuring a green cocktail olive in the middle with a yellow background, the design also displays a film strip with the numbers 1935 and 2012 across it, and the theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy.
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 completed 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.