Pantheon: A Business and Innovation Theatre

Members of the Pantheon Board on Tuesday learned the shared workspace and small-business incubator could be open sometime in September — and that’s after a mistake in the design of the entryway set Wolfe Construction, Vincennes, back by a week.

Members of the Pantheon Board met briefly Tuesday to hear an update from Vincennes’ Myszak and Palmer Architecture and Development about the progress of the renovation of the historic theater into a shared workspace and small business incubator.

Callahan Jordan, an architect with Myszak and Palmer, said the building’s first floor is “approximately 100% complete.” He noted that crews are prepared to start framing the upper balcony platform later this week, and that they are also in communication with interior designers to begin planning the finishing touches for the second and third floors.

The 5-member Pantheon Board, comprised of individuals appointed by both city and county elected officials, recently approved a $209,600 change order, money allocated to finish out the second and third floors of The Pantheon: A Business and Innovation Theater, located at 428 Main St. Those upper floors, which were initially cut from the project due to cost overruns, will offer additional rentable offices as well as a theater-style meeting space.

The city and county long ago agreed to split the originally-estimated $2.4 million to see the theater transformed; the Knox County Development Corp. then last month chipped in another $383,000 to see it totally finished.The shared workspace was set to open in mid-May, but due to the COVID-19 shutdown, that has been delayed. The full project should be complete by mid to late September — after a recent mistake set the project back by about a week, Jordan said.

“We had a little blip with an (Americans with Disabilities Act) matter that caused it to be pushed back a little,” he told the board.

He went on to explain that the front entryway was installed incorrectly and had to be repaired to comply with current ADA standards. Wolfe Construction, the Vincennes company awarded the contract last spring, made the necessary changes to the concrete entry and have also installed ADA compliant door hardware.Pantheon Board members, concerned about the potentially costly mistake, were assured the additional materials and labor would be absorbed by Wolfe Construction.

Board member and city council member Brian Grove, showing a hint of frustration with the duration of the project, asked if there were any additional problems to report. “You’re dealing with a 1921 building,” Jordan responded, “but as far as I know, not at this point.”

KDCD, which gets a lot of its funding from contributions of tax revenues from the city and county, also voted this month to pay up to $275,000 to cover the match to a federal grant which, if obtained, would pay for an exterior restoration as well as additional technology within.

The city, on behalf of officials leading the transformation of the historic theater, applied for a grant from the Economic Development Administration for the work.

That total project cost — which includes everything from new gutters to tuck-pointing and a new marquee — is $915,000.

The Pantheon Board will meet again on Aug. 4 at City Hall, 201 Vigo St.

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