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Renovations underway in Woodsfield

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM The Monroe County Theatre in Woodsfield is receiving a multitude of renovations, including installation of a furnace to provide the venue with heat. Organizers hope to reopen its doors next month.

WOODSFIELD — The Monroe County Theatre in Woodsfield is in the midst of receiving some much-needed “TLC,” and organizers hope to reopen its doors to the public next month.

Mick Schumacher, a county commissioner and member of the Monroe Arts Council, said the theater was forced to close its doors due to its lack of heat during the winter months. However, he said the arts council is using the time wisely by attempting to perform a series of renovations to improve the more than 80-year-old facility.

The theater opened to the public this past summer after former owners Gary and Nancy Rubel donated the historic building to the Monroe Arts Council in 2016. Committee members scrubbed and cleaned the building so that people could once again enjoy the venue, which has featured free entertainment for local residents.

Schumacher said the theater is not yet equipped with a furnace; therefore, it could not remain open once the weather turned cold.

“We’re trying to take advantage of the down time to get bigger things taken care of,” he said.

Installation of four new energy-efficient furnaces is underway. The cost of the furnaces is approximately $20,000. Schumacher said thanks to numerous donations, the furnaces are nearly half paid for.

Since Dec. 1, the venue has received $8,600 in donations for the heating project.

“This is absolutely amazing to us,” he said via a post on Facebook. “We are truly humbled and most appreciative of these donations.”

WesBanco donated $2,000 to the project, along with Woodsfield Bicentennial which donated more than $2,000, he said.

“People know what we’re trying to do. … We had a couple of individuals who also made donations. We really appreciate them all,” he said.

All of the exterior electrical components have been replaced, he said. They had to be replaced due an unforeseen water issue.

“We decided to replace it all and start fresh. It was work we didn’t expect,” he said.

The committee also removed a brick chimney, located behind the theater’s movie screen, creating additional space for the stage.

“It (chimney) was 18 foot high, 8 foot long and 3 foot deep, with a 4 inch poured concrete cap,” he said. “It allowed us to gain over 3 feet for the stage. Now performers will have more room.”

Additionally, a new movie projector has been purchased and installed.

“It will greatly improve the quality of the movies we show,” he said.

Schumacher said he hopes to open the facility sometime next month. He said he would like to open with a movie either in time for Valentine’s Day or Black History Month. A building inspection is still required prior to the facility’s reopening.

The Monroe County Theatre is located at 104 N. Main St. in Woodsfield, across the street from the county courthouse.

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