Pantheon Business Theater

Sun-Commercial file photo | It's a good day when you get something better for less money. That's what Don Villwock told his fellow Pantheon Board members following their regular monthly meeting Tuesday after hearing a bit of good news from crews with Wolfe Construction, 2724 Washington Ave., the company hired to do the $2.4 million transformation of the Pantheon Theatre downtown into a co-working space.

It's a good day when you get something better for less money.

That's what Don Villwock told his fellow Pantheon Board members following their regular monthly meeting Tuesday after hearing a bit of good news from crews with Wolfe Construction, 2724 Washington Ave., the company hired to do the $2.4 million transformation of the Pantheon Theatre downtown into a co-working space.

Pantheon Board member and county council president Bob Lechner read aloud a letter from Myszak and Palmer Architecture and Development in which they said Wolfe ran into something of an issue when looking to restore the plaster perimeter walls inside the historic theater.

Much of the plaster had been damaged, the letter stated, as the building at 428 Main St. for many years had a leaky roof.

When the nonprofit INVin acquired the theater years ago, they raised the funds needed for a new roof, but much damage had already been done.

“I believe we're all familiar with that,” Lechner said, taking a quick pause from reading.

Wolfe said repairing the plaster was now more extensive than originally thought, but he had something else — something cheaper — in mind.

Instead of restoring the plaster or replacing it, they will simply remove those damaged areas to reveal the original brick underneath.

The result will be walls with a mixture of plaster and exposed brick. Wolfe likened it to the walls inside Procopio's Pizza and Pasta, which is also located in a restored downtown building at 127 N. Second St.

Candace Miller embraced a similar look, too, when transforming the former Old Town Tavern at 116 Main St. into her cafe, Graze 1885.

“I stopped in [at the Pantheon] earlier today to take a look,” Lechner said, “and there are certainly a number of places within the building in which the plaster is loose and problematic. Some kind of repair is necessary.

“And I like the effect used at Procopio's,” he said. “I think it's actually an enhancement. So if we can do that, take it back to the original brick, give it more authenticity and that kind of look, I'm all for it.”

Villwock, too, called it a “plus,” while fellow member Steve Miller said he thought the walls would look “very nice that way.”

Wolfe didn't disclose exactly how much the board would save as a result; that information, board members learned, would come later.

Work on the Pantheon Business Theater got underway this summer.

The scope of the work includes the construction of new, larger men's and women's restrooms on the main floor, a full redesign of the theater's main stage as an event space, an open-concept shared workspace in the center an three offices available for rent around the perimeter.

Renovations of the second floor and balcony had to be shelved as bids this spring came in too high.

An elevator will still be installed to allow access to the second and third floors and plumbing, electric, etc. run so those improvements can be made later.

The Pantheon Business Theater building itself is jointly owned by the city and county.

The Pantheon Board will next meet at 3 p.m. Sept. 3 at City Hall, 201 Vigo St.

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