For the first time in its 98 years of operation, the local Strand Theatre closed its doors for an extensive period of time.
Manager Kara Long discovered complications with the theater’s heating system last Friday.
“When I went into the Strand on January 24 it was cold,” Long said. “So I called the HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) tech and he discovered broken pipes due to freezing.”
Since then, Long said they are still unsure as to whether the frozen pipes broke the boiler, or if the boiler malfunctioned and affected the pipes.
In order to get the theater up and running again, Long said a new high efficiency boiler is necessary.
The boiler alone has a five day installation time and will take even longer to get the building back to normal temperatures; thus shutting the Strand down and unable to screen films for about three weeks.
To compensate for the loss of business, the Strand has been reaching out to the Delaware community.
Messages asking for any and all donations to keep the historical theater running include those from their Facebook page and website: “We will really need your help rebuilding our bank account after losing three weeks of business and buying a new boiler,” and “Please know that tax-deductible contributions are not only welcomed but encouraged.”
The response to the closure of the local theater has been overtly positive with fans of the establishment posting statuses about their love and appreciation.
Promises such as “See you soon” and “You can count on us”, as well as hopeful encouragements, “Can’t wait for the re-opening” practically flood the theater’s Facebook page.
Ohio Wesleyan University students should not be forgotten in this community loss.
Junior Kelsey Caspersen recalls taking trips to the Strand in her spring semester, “I took Intro to Film with Dr. Hipsky, so I went and saw weekly movies there and I always had a great experience.”
“It makes me sad that I can’t eat their popcorn or be able to support a local business,” Caspersen added. “If I want to go see a movie it is so much cheaper [at the Strand] because they offer a student discount.”
So far donations to the Strand have amounted to $1,450, which will help to cover the cost of replacing the boiler, but not make up for the loss of income.
Senior Tim O’Keeffe mentioned the Strand could be missing an opportunity for major Valentine’s Day business if they cannot re-open by Friday.
Long said hopefully they will be ready to screen films such as “The Lego Movie” and “The Monuments Men” by Valentine’s Day weekend.
Caspersen also raised the point that if there is no accessible theater in downtown Delaware then people will likely go elsewhere to see films.
“They’re probably going to be spending their money at the theater in Polaris,” she said. “As it is the Strand already has a hard time getting big name movies, which we learned about in our film class.”
The Strand Theatre opened in 1916 and has not had complications such as these in over 28 years. As the manager puts it, downtown Delaware isn’t just missing access to a building, they’re missing a source of entertainment.