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Repairs continue on theater

July 02, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Big band leader Larry Elgart & His Orchestra are scheduled to perform in a July 23 concert that is being "brought to you by the Capitol Theatre Center," according to a poster on the front door of the theater at 159 S. Main St.

Elgart and his band, nicknamed "The Ambassadors of Swing," will play in the Chambersburg Area Senior High School auditorium instead because the interior of The Capitol Theatre is honeycombed with scaffolding.

Paul Cullinane, president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc., owner of the 78-year-old theater, invited the press in Friday morning to get a firsthand look at how work is progressing on replacing the ceiling.

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A big chunk of the ceiling in the refurbished theater came crashing down on the audience during an April 30 performance by the Chambersburg Community Theatre.

Several people were injured, including one woman who spent three weeks at York (Pa.) Hospital.

Since then, all scheduled shows, including Elgart's, have been scheduled for other venues.

Cullinane said Friday that he expects the ceiling to be replaced "by sometime in the fall."

Cullinane said the project is going well.

"We're several weeks ahead of schedule," he said.

The ceiling is being replaced at a cost of $315,000, including repainting the ceiling and walls, Cullinane said. The fundraising goal still is about $57,000 short, he said.

Cullinane didn't know how much of the damage will be covered by insurance. The cause of the collapse still is undetermined, he said.

The ceiling in the main auditorium is being replaced with one of lighter material weighing about half as much as the old ceiling. It will be skim-coated with plaster veneer.

Cullinane also credited the workers with keeping dust and dirt to a minimum during the work.

The seats have been covered with plastic, as are the stage, original organ and its pipes, Cullinane said. Workers are vacuuming plaster dust up as sections of the old ceiling are pulled down, he said.

It was decided to replace the entire ceiling in the theater rather than repair it.

"The public's safety is paramount in guiding us through this process," Cullinane said.

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