Group Seeks OK for Facade, Marquee Design of Historic App Theatre Renovation Project

Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:05 am


By Jesse Wood

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC), the nonprofit renovating the historic theatre in downtown Boone, is requesting deviations to town ordinances regarding lighting and color schemes on the proposed façade of the theatre.

The town’s Community Appearance Commission (CAC) will review the group’s plans on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in the upstairs conference room of Boone Planning and Inspections.

ATHC is requesting 33 footcandles as opposed to 10, the maximum allowed under the town’s Unified Development Ordinance. ATHC is requesting black as the main façade color, while black is prohibited as a field color. In addition, the group wants teal, an accent color, to represent 11.5 percent of the total façade area, but accent colors are limited to 5 percent of total area under UDO.

The intent of these requests is to historically recreate the façade. The intent of the project is to renovate and restore the old theatre to its original 1938 art deco design. Exterior work is expected to begin in late March and early April, weather permitting, according to a construction timeline released in the fall.

The historic theatre was essentially gutted and most of the electrical and plumbing systems have been removed. The building still needs to be repaired to meet current fire and building codes.

“The interior wall surfaces need to be finished and the interior art deco style restored. New theatre seating that meets ADA requirements must be installed. The original theatre façade and marquee need to be restored, and new equipment must include a digital projector, rollup screen and sound system,” according to info in the CAC meeting packet.

The project is now entering its fifth year, and the goal all along has been to open the restored theatre on Nov. 14, 2016, which coincides with the 77th birthday of the old Appalachian Theatre.

The Town of Boone fronted the Downtown Boone Development Association a three-year loan worth $624,000 to purchase the gutted theatre in foreclosure in the fall of 2011. The DBDA and ATHC eventually paid the town back for purchasing the theatre in 2013.

In June, the ATHC announced the public phase of the capital campaign after raising more than $6 million for the project – or nearly 80 percent of the $7.85 million goal. ATHC Chair John Cooper also announced that there is a separate goal to raise $750,000 to cover operating expenses for the first three years prior to opening the theatre.

Cooper wasn’t immediately available for comment on Tuesday morning.

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