- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
Plans are ready and bids should start coming in soon for work on the Grand Theater. What comes after that will depend on what it costs to do the first phase.
“We are getting ready to put a set of plans out to bid to repair the damage of the roof collapse,” said Shawn Napier, director of engineering and city development. “We will be replacing a portion of the roof and redoing the front façade.”
The work will fix a hole in the roof, install new wood trusses, and add a roof drain and two emergency relief drains to keep the damage from happening again. Denney Architects prepared the plans for the project, which will be advertised for another week or so. Bids will be opened at 3 p.m. Oct. 1.
Napier said a rough estimate would be around $85,000. A true estimate is almost impossible, architect Paul Denney said.
“We’ll see how far the money goes when we get hard bids,” Denney said. “On little, small projects like this, it can be extremely variable what the cost will be. You don’t know until you get the bids.”
To restore the building to its 1937 appearance, Denney said a company will replicate the five porcelain bands that once decorated the exterior above the canopy. Some temporary doors will be installed to close off the interior, as well.
That work will stabilize the building and keep the exterior from weakening any further.
Even if it would not work as a theater, the building could find use once again, perhaps as a meeting place or a site for events such as weddings and receptions. So the city has been looking at a restoration of the old theater for more than two years, but there have been several setbacks.
Part of the old theater’s roof collapsed in November 2011 during a heavy rainstorm. The city said 911 Restoration stuffed plastic sheeting into the roof drain while removing asbestos, but didn’t remove the plastic afterwards. Rain collected on the roof with nowhere to go, and the weight caused part of it to collapse. The contractor said the building’s old age and roof supports led to the collapse.
The matter was settled out of court for $85,000. That money has been added to another $75,000 raised by the 2011-2012 Leadership Lamar County class, which took on the Grand Theater as a class project.
Depending on how much money is left after the roof repairs, Denney said he plans to put together another bid package to restore the entry way, including porcelain panels and a ticket booth.
“There was a neat little box office that was original to the 1937 remodel that Interstate Theaters did,” he said.
There’s still a great deal to be done inside.
“We need to complete the abatement of the property, and then City Council has considered an agreement with a private group to renovate the theater,” Napier said.
There’s some asbestos, Denney said, but most of the abatement work is for lead based paint and bird droppings, which can be toxic. An old ventilation shaft was open at one point, and birds roosted inside.
A grant got about 50 percent to 60 percent of the building cleaned up, Denney said. The front seating and stage area would likely be next and the second floor balcony last.
By Jeff Parish, eParisExtra