The Colonial Fox Theatre in downtown Pittsburg is getting a new face.
Workers are progressing with phase five of the theater’s renovation project, a task that includes removing the old HVAC units — possibly by crane — and enormous cage fans, replacing the building’s old electrical system with temporary light fixtures and outlets for electrical appliances, and renovating the building’s emergency exits. The massive wood HVAC housing platforms in back of the stage have already been removed, completely freeing the stage. The plan also calls for renovating the lobby and box office, having tuck point work around the brick front redone, and putting up a new glass front.
“We want the front to look like the rest of the theater is going to look when it’s done,” said Vonnie Corsini, executive director of the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation. “We’re going to have two windows, two entry doors and a high-arch curtain window on top.”
The current phase of the renovation will cost about $320,000, Corsini said. And as far as fund-raising goes, Corsini said the foundation has about $250,000 and needs about the same amount in order to receive the matching $500,000 in grants it was awarded from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Save America’s Treasures program — which would bring the total to $1 million in renovation funds.
“We’re at the point where we really need people to step up again and get this theater to where it can be,” Corsini said.
Sarah Jensen, public relations and marketing director for the foundation, said she hopes the facade work will generate more interest in the theater from Pittsburg residents.
“I think having the front done will increase the visibility of the theater and excitement from the community,” Jensen said.
So far, repair work on the theater includes a new roof, mold and asbestos removal, tuck-pointing and, most recently, a major waterproofing project for the building’s east and west basements.
That work, including the purchase price and back taxes, has cost about $580,000. The current projects are being done by Home Center Construction, SEK Heating & Air, Seward Electric and Heikes Masonry and Restoration.