By Sophie Crispin
Located at 28 E. Winter St., the Strand is one of the top five longest continuously run theaters in America. At 96-years-old, it’s no surprise the historic theatre is being renovated by its parent company, The Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association.
“The Delaware County Bank donation will be a five-year commitment that includes financial concessions, gifts-in-kind and a multi-year pledge,” said Jay Wolf, Delaware County Bank vice-president of marketing and customer relations.
The donation will go toward renovating the east theater. It follows five years of efforts by the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association to plan and raise money for renovations.
“The board of directors has looked into various options to start improving the property, and when we approached the Delaware County Bank, they were extremely excited to be a part of helping to improve the theatre and the community,” said Joni Brown, president of the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association.
The east theatre renovation project will include new acoustic wall covering, floors, seating and wheelchair accessible spaces in the front and back of the theatre. A digital projection booth and new sound system have already been installed.
A new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system will also create a more comfortable environment for moviegoers.
“It’s basically a whole new theatre,” said Harry Pape, a Strand Theatre employee, in summation.
The Strand hopes to balance old and modern while renovating parts of the theatre by preserving the functional and structurally sound historical parts of the theater. They will also update it to include the “creature comforts” of a large multiplex theatre, according to Brown.
Brown hopes to see the east theatre renovations completed in March, before spring movie releases.
“We have three screens, but we’ll be down one until the renovation is done, so we’re hoping to have them all running before the busy movie season starts,” Brown said.
The Strand Theatre is expected to be the center of a new Delaware “Arts District,” according to Wolf.