Tearin’ the roof off the place
Work begins on renovating the Mars Theatre
By Rick Lott
After almost four years of talking about it, construction on the historic Mars Theatre in downtown Springfield became a reality on Monday morning as the old roof began to come off.
Workers for Clay Chandler shoveled and stripped off the old roofing paper atop the 1946-era movie house, throwing the debris over the roof into a waiting dumpster below.
The project is a joint collaboration between the city of Springfield and the SRC. The city has made $50,000 available for construction on the building and the first phase will include a new roof, a refurbished lobby and building façade, along with a new ADA-compliant restroom. The group is scheduling a planning meeting within the next two weeks to discuss the next steps in the process.
“I’m extremely excited about this,” said SRC vice president Barbara Oglesby.
She said that by getting all the key experts together in a planning meeting, they can determine how to utilize the building with the least amount of expense.
“So the more use we can get out of it,” Oglesby said, “the more we can use for programming. We’ve got volunteers already who’ve said they will donate time and help us get the inside ready to use.”
City council member Butch Kieffer said the roofers should have their job finished by the end of this week, depending on rain. He said rather than taking the roof off section by section, they will tear the whole thing off and replace it. That way they can spot and repair any damaged wood while they’re working.