Texas Theater renovation continues

April 4, 2011

Brad Bardin of The Neon Shop in Abilene is shown removing parts of the Texas Theatre marquee to be repaired and installed with new, working neon.

The Texas Theater, located in downtown Sweetwater, has entered its next phase of the long term renovation process. The Sweetwater Texas Theater Acquisition Renovation (STTAR) committee has entered a contract with the Neon Shop of Abilene to remove, clean, repair and replace the lower marquee of the theater. “The integrity of the marquee will be the utmost priority of the renovation,” emphasized Brad Barton, owner of the Neon Shop. “We will use every means available to ensure the marquee looks the same as it did when first installed in the 1940s,” Barton concluded.
This phase of the renovation process was made possible through a donation from the occupancy tax collected by the City of Sweetwater and disbursed through the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce. Upon completion of this phase of the renovation, which is expected to take several weeks, the theater will be one step closer to the complete overhaul of the theater’s front façade, a well-known landmark of downtown Sweetwater. The last phase of this project includes replacing the front doors to their original location and the construction of an exterior ticket booth. “All the hard work of the STTAR committee is now showing what the renovation is all about and the Chamber is pleased to be part of the process,” stated Mick Truitt, a board member of the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce.
Although the front façade of the theater is the most visible of the renovation, it is only a small part of the total project. Yet to be completed is the remodeling of the lobby, relocation of the concession stand, reconditioning of the seating, heating and air conditioning, painting, as well as plumbing and electrical needs. The process will take several years to raise the needed funding necessary for completion.
However, the theater is very much usable now. First run movies are currently being shown on Friday and Saturday evening. Since the theater was built to accommodate both films as well as live performances, the TEXAS has already hosted several live events.
Most recently, a Jay Boy Adams concert and a Christian rock concert were held at the TEXAS resulting in much praise and surprise from those patrons attending. Behind the push for live entertainment is Weston Pyburn, owner of JavaJax, who has spent countless hours preparing the theater’s auditorium for a clean and audience friendly venue. “Sweetwater has the potential to be a live music center of West Texas. Both the City Auditorium and the TEXAS have their own special attributes that can be maximized in the live entertainment business,” Pyburn emphasized.
The TEXAS is available for private tours, parties, class reunions, meetings, to mention a few potential uses. Call the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce for contact information.

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