Air Conditioning and Heating return to the Texas Theatre
When the Texas Theatre opened its doors for business in 1935,it was one of the few places in town with air conditioning. But last spring, almost as soon as the Theatre had reopened for business,it had to quickly shut down again because of air conditioning problems. According to the S.T.T.A.R. board Chairman, Cody Wilkinson, the Texas Theatre opening weekend of Iron Man 2 brought out more than 300 people to the Theatre. “There was a great response from the community, and it proved the need and viability of the project” Wilkinson stated.
Ironically the same thing that brought thousands of people to the Theatre in the 1930’s, the air conditioning, was the main hurdle the S.T.T.A.R. board had to overcome. “People aren’t going to sit in a hot theatre to watch a movie. They have to be comfortable. Because the old units were not repairable, we had to make the decision to close the Texas Theatre again until we were able to raise enough money to purchase new air conditioning units;”Tom Henderson, S.T.T.A.R. board member stated. Ray Browning, who is in charge of fund raising for S.T.T.A.R., reported that the board had applied for a number of grants that would help fund the purchase of the air conditioning units, but the grants were not awarded. “Grants have been much harder to obtain recently due to the poor economy. Non-profit organizations are holding on to all their money to make sure they stay solvent in these difficult times” Browning observed.
Events changed this fall when Texas State bank generously agreed to loan the S.T.T.A.R. board the money for improvements. When the theatre board was first contemplating borrowing money for the units, many of the members were worried about a non-profit taking out a loan. “We are great at being a non-profit. We never make any money” a board member announced at a meeting. Unfortunately, without adequate climate control in the theatre, very few events would be able to be held at the Texas Theatre. In this case the old adage “You have to spend money to make money” seemed a certainly prudent bit of advice. On November 2, with the help of a donated crane from Mahaffey Construction, two brand new HUVAC units were placed on top of the Texas Theatre. Garcia Electric started installation in hopes of completion just in time for the first round of cold weather.
Now that the Texas Theatre has a good climate control system, maybe thousands of people will return to the Texas Theatre for their entertainment. The aim is to make the Texas Theatre a gathering place for entertainment and socializing just as it was in the 1930’s. Movie patrons are again enjoying watching movies at the Texas Theatre as they have for 75 years. If you would like to make a donation to go toward the Air Conditioning Fund please contact Cody Wilkinson at 864-3688. Any and all donations are appreciated.