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Old Art Deco movie theater in Iowa near completion

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:25 a.m. CDT

GARNER (AP) — After a multi-year restoration effort, volunteers are only a month away from reopening an 82-year-old Art Deco movie theater in the small northern Iowa city of Garner.

The seats, screen and digital projection equipment are now in place at the Avery Theater, which began its restoration after a nonprofit agency bought the building in 2008, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported.

Organizers say they’ve tried to retain the theater’s original look, including red clay tile that’s been extended from the ticket booth into the lobby.

“It’s really impressive when you walk in,” said Barb Eisenmenger, chairwoman of Garner Community Center Inc., who is in charge of the restoration along with Garner Main St. Inc., the agency that bought the building.

Eisenmenger said a DVD will be played during an upcoming open house to give visitors a glimpse into the theater’s new surround sound system. The facility has seating for 200, including seating for disabled individuals.

The theater opened in 1931 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It showed movies until the late 1960s before it became a pharmacy.

Volunteers are currently hanging doors, putting in ceilings and finishing restrooms, along with setting up the concession area and ticket booth. The theater’s grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 9.

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