SANDPOINT — Next year will see another facelift for the Panida Theater thanks to a grant from the Idaho Heritage Trust.

A $5,000 contribution from the trust, set up to provide support for historic Idaho locations, will restore the interior plaster walls and ceiling of the theater. The work will be done in conjunction with the installation of a new fire-safety sprinkler system. However, as the trust only provides funding for historic preservation work, that safety feature will be funded through a separate pot of money secured earlier.

“It’s just great,” said Panida grants chairperson Phyllis Goodwin. “We work and we write these grants. And once the project is done, it’s just one more thing to check off the list.”

Sure enough, Panida officials have plenty to keep them busy before work begins on interior restoration. This summer, theater officials will focus largely on prep work to bring the interior in line for restoration and enhancement. Workers will remove asbestos and fiberglass installation while adding insulation in the attic walls and ceiling. A contract is already prepared for that job. In addition, officials have already found a contractor for the restoration work to follow next year.

“We started this restoration plan four years ago,” Goodwin said. “Every time we complete a project, you think, ‘Wow! What a difference!’ And then it’s time to move on to the next thing.”

Theater officials have already checked off several items on their to-do list. They’ve restored most of the theater seats, replaced the curtain, repaired the building exterior with fresh plaster and paint, installed an improved marquee and fixed the lion head fountain in the main lobby.

Perhaps most importantly, officials purchased and installed a new digital projection system last year. The equipment upgrade was no small expense, costing about $60,000 and delaying other much-needed projects. However, it was a necessary change in the schedule given the shifting of the movie distribution industry. With many companies no longer sending movies out on film, the theater needed to adapt to the new digital format.

The recent grant is yet another show of support from the Idaho Heritage Trust. Last year, for instance, the organization provided a $15,000 grant for restoration work — just one of several gestures over the past four years. Panida officials are grateful for the support.

“This is a very exciting time for the Panida Theater,” said Phil Ronniger, board chairman. “As we complete each project, we are extremely grateful to our patrons, supporters and grantors who have helped preserve this most important asset for our community and the Inland Northwest.”

—Original ArticleRasmusson, C. (2014, May 1). Panida Theater receives IHT grant. Bonner County Daily Bee. Retrieved June 22, 2014

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