For people passing by the rear entrance of the Soo Theatre in downtown Weyburn last week, there wouldn’t be any surprise if they had a double-take. After all, it isn’t every day that you see workers in full hazmat suits coming in and out of a building carrying bags.
Corey Morrissette, the vice-president of the board for the Weyburn Theatre Co-operative, explained that despite the scene being like something from a post-apocalyptic flick you would see in a theatre, it was all part of the process to prepare for the next step of the construction of a new theatre.
“Before you start demolition, you have to get rid of all the asbestos,” Morrissette told Discover Weyburn. “The fine folks at Mega Dry were in there for a few weeks doing all of the asbestos abatement, getting it all out of the building before demolition can occur. So, all that is done now; the gas line is now removed, and we are ready for demolition.”
The demolition is the next step in the process. No firm date has been set for the start of the demolition, but it is expected to start int eh coming weeks. After that will come the design and hiring a contractor, and some of that work is already underway.
“We’ve been talking with a firm who designs theatres in Ontario, and we’ve got kind of a layout done up, and we’re talking with some local people about getting the engineer drawings and maybe picking a contractor at some point,” Morrissette said of the process. “But step one is always the demolition of the building, and we have a firm picked out.”
The old Soo Theatre does have a lot of history in it, and some of that has been able to be salvaged. Morrissette reported that the old splicing table, some old film reels, around twenty seats and the popcorn machine were salvaged from the old building. There were a few things that were just too far gone to be salvaged, though, including the screen.
The marquee off the front of the building will also be salvaged.
In terms of fundraising, things have been going quite smoothly for the cooperative as of late. They are around 40 percent towards their fundraising goal and have a major sponsorship announcement coming soon, as they are receiving a donation for one of the actual theatres.
Morrissette added they still have a number of other sponsorships available – the naming rights, the projector room, the screens in the theatres and the walk of fame in the theatre itself.
For more information on the sponsorship of the new theatre, visit the Weyburn Theatre website.