News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 6, 2013

Restoring the grand old lady of downtown: Indiana rising

Returning sign to top of marquee a milestone in Indiana Theatre’s restoration

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A piece of history was put back home again in Indiana — er, at the Indiana Theatre Event Center.

The signature marquee sign was placed back atop the Terre Haute downtown landmark Thursday morning at the intersection of Seventh and Ohio streets.

It took two attempts to raise the sign. The sign shifted as it was first raised, causing crane operator Matthew Morgan of ICE Rigging to quickly and gently lower the 1,000-pound sign to be repositioned.

A second attempt went smoothly.

“Thank God the sign is up there,” said Danielle Zimmerman, marketing director for the center, after workers secured the marquee atop the theater’s canopy.

The sign has been repainted, repaired and updated with modern lighting technology, including LED lights. Original light bulbs also were replaced.

“We have 450 light bulbs, which are 71⁄2-watt bulbs, in the Indiana part” of the sign, said Tom Sipes, an electrician for Ketner & Sons Electric Inc.

The sign’s bulbs can turn on gradually across the sign until all bulbs are fully lighted.

In addition, the reader board now has LED light technology that will allow that portion of the sign to be changed to different colors for different events.

The theater’s front canopy contains about 468 clear, 15-watt light bulbs, Sipes said.

Zimmerman said the entire canopy and sign will likely be turned on tonight to test for an event to be held Saturday.

As workers removed several layers of paint in preparation for new red paint, an original “Sheetmetal Workers International Association No. 24” badge was discovered in the middle of the sign. The badge was cleaned of paint to return it to its original visibility.

Building owner Rob Lundstrom, who owns the Copper Bar and Louise’s Italian Fine Dining, is nearly completed with his phase 1 restoration plan.

That work included painting for street-level intersection at Seventh and Ohio; canopy restoration (painting, roof and electronics); marquee sign restoration; roof seam repairs and restoration; electrical, HVAC, plumbing and structural diagnostics and phase 1 repairs; “eye level” painting and plaster repair from rotunda through auditorium; auditorium wall plaster repair and repainting; remodeling of auditorium to add terrace and orchestra deck; connecting Seventh Street space to lobby ballroom; and expand catering service amenities (furniture, service bars, dining).

Phase 2 work, slated for October to December, includes replacing seats; HVAC comfort upgrades; energy-efficiency measures for utilities (HVAC, lighting and plumbing); completing exterior trim repainting (including second floor); initiating stage and drapery restoration; window treatments to all exterior street level windows; continue expanding catering service amenities; initiating upper-level repainting for rotunda through auditorium; and remodeling backstage dressing rooms.

Phases 3 and 4 are slated to run through June 2014. Some of that work includes installing a glass brick crystal bar to the ballroom; installing a theater organ and piping; installing digital movie capability and lighting special effects to the auditorium; working on a theater office and gift shop on Ohio Street.



Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.