State Theatre hires general manager as renovations continue

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The State Theatre that’s still being renovated has hired a general manager.

He’s Steven Dahlmeier, who worked the past four years at Downtown Sioux Falls.

Filling that position is just one step in an $8 million movie makeover.

The historic State Theatre on Phillips Avenue first opened in 1926.

The plan has been and, still is, to completely restore the inside of the theater to its original splendor.

“Right now we’re working on the main auditorium. The stenciling and decorative painting is being worked on, there’s scaffolding throughout the entire auditorium, people are down in the tunnels tuckpointing, they are in the attic space putting an H-Vac and sprinkler systems, I mean like every little inch in there is being touched by some kind of trade,” executive director Allison Weiland said.

Every little detail is beginning to take shape in what is more of a work of art than a construction project.

From the stencils to the paint color to marble finish to the ornate emblems, it’s been a painstaking process that started seven years ago and continues today.

“Right now, we’re working on finishing the auditorium, but we still need funding for the balcony, the mezzanine, the second and third floor, and we’re looking for an additional $2.5 million to complete those projects,” Weiland said.

In the upper levels, you will still find pieces of the past.

There are two old safes that will likely stay closed because they don’t have combinations to open them. They aren’t sure what’s in those safes.

In the film room, there’s the old projector which was last serviced on Feb, 14, 1990; a nostalgic feeling for anyone whoever watched a movie here.

The last time I stepped foot in the State Theatre was in 1979 when Rocky II debuted and the entire theatre was chanting R-O-C-K-Y!

Those are the kind of memories they’re hoping to bring back to life when it reopens next year.

“I think people are going to open the doors and they’re going to be transported to a different point in time, I mean it really brings you back and then watching old classic films, I think is really going to be nostalgic and wonderful,” Weiland said.

The plan is to reopen the State Theatre sometime next summer.

The first show is going to be ‘Gone with the Wind’ at the request of T. Denny Sanford, who donated $3.5 million to the project.

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