By Matt DeckerJanuary 29, 2020
Fort Leonard Wood movie-goers will have to head off post for big-screen entertainment over the next four months, as Bldg. 804, also known as Abrams Theater, undergoes a major renovation project.
"It's a complete renovation on the inside," explained Sgt. 1st Class James Thompson, the S3 of the 1st Engineer Brigade, which manages the property for the Directorate of Public Works.
This week kicked off the 120-day, $1 million-plus project, which was approved by the Army and awarded to general contractor Silver Lake Construction in December. Dennis Routh, DPW project manager, has been working to develop the project since August and said the initial concept began in 2016.
"The main lobby and snack bar will be remodeled, to include the storefront, new wall finishes, doors, ceiling, lighting and flooring," Routh said. "The restrooms will have updated wall coverings, flooring, (Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant) restroom stalls, fixtures and lighting. The auditorium will have new flooring, doors and hardware, seating, acoustic panels installed on walls, ceiling repairs and lighting. The stage will have new floor coverings and, there will be a number of other miscellaneous repairs."
Thompson noted that the facility is used for a variety of functions on the installation.
"It's used for the movies, of course, but also graduations, training, briefings -- you name it, they do it there," Thompson said.
Rhonda Corbett, Abrams Theater manager with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, is looking forward to the changes.
"I think it's going to be really pretty," she said. "They've told us we'll have mahogany wood edging in the new foyer, along with new flooring and new seats. It's going to look really nice."
While movie-goers will have to go several weeks without showings at Abrams, the goal is to have the project completed before the summer blockbuster season hits full stride. Corbett said while attendance varies, those big-budget movies have sold out the 998-seat theater in the past.
"It varies depending on what's showing each weekend, but if you're talking about a Marvel movie or Star Wars -- of course, those are big draws," she said.
Beth Pritchard, Fort Leonard Wood AAFES general manager, said that the company is also planning to contribute to the redesign.
"For our part, we are going to execute a small project to refurbish the snack bar to match the decor that DPW is bringing in," Pritchard said.
Pritchard said that as soon as the project is completed, Abrams Theater will resume its regular schedule, with showings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
"We look forward to reopening in a new, modern venue, and look forward to bringing our customers entertainment in time for the summer blockbuster season," Pritchard said.