Reconstruction Moving Rapidly – The lead paint and asbestos abatement in the historic theatre is complete, and work has commenced on the top of exterior wall where old bricks have to be removed and remortored. The mortar and bricks will have to match the original material from 1929. Also, the split stone façade has been removed, and, lo and behold, most of the original brickwork is intact and salvageable. A few sections will have to be replaced. A volunteer took down the metal mansard canopies that were not original, probably added in the 1970s. In summary, the restoration project, managed by MSI General and an HWBT task force is well underway. The grand plan is to bring the theatre back to its original architectural distinction.
New Seats Throughout – The 227 balcony seats have proved unusable, so they will be replaced. The main floor seats, once at about 400, have been long gone. The new plan for the multi-purpose facility calls for about 120 seats on the main floor and about 216 on the balcony, for a total of 336. Premium seats, which are wider than the old ones, will be front and center on both floors.
In addition, there will be tables and chairs in the lobby area on the main floor to accommodate smaller gatherings.
Artwork Restoration Work Awarded – Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc., of New Berlin has been selected to restore the treasure of stenciled artwork below the urns, and decorative painting on pilasters, beams and ceiling throughout the theatre. “They are one of very few firms in the U. S. that does this kind of restoration work,” said Kine Torinus HWBT vice president. “We can’t wait to see the spectacular colors and stencils come alive again.”
Helicopter Pulled Into HVAC Action – We can’t block Main Street for the two days it would take for cranes to lift four HVAC units to the top of the theatre. And the Riverwalk is too narrow for the cranes. What to do? Ron Albiero Heating & Air conditioning, got creative and has hired Midwest Helicopter of Chicago to move the machinery. It will use the vacant old Gehl site as its staging area. The helicopter lift is scheduled to take place end of June – early July. They will complete the job in less than two hours, so stay tuned.
Riverwalk Dedication Coming UP – The city of west Bend will hold a public dedication of the renovated east bank of the downtown Riverwalk at 4:00 p.m., June 27. It is a wonderful addition to our city center amenities, complete with river overlooks and plazas that step down to the river itself. The ceremony will link with the dedication of the “MOWA Gardens,” the two acre space south of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, which was designed by Jim Shields, the architect of MOWA. Our theatre board is working closely with the city on the pending renovation of the west bank. That project, originally targeted for 2020, is now pegged at 2021.