Project co-chairs; Randy Danielson and Donna Pontius and the entire REES Project Committee express great appreciation for the many gifts pledged and given to date in not only saving a landmark structure but assuring its further success as a venue that brings vibrancy to the community and Marshall County area. “But we are not there yet.” clarified Danielson. “Our match was met to capture a $300,000 Regional Cities Initiative grant but the reality is we remain about one million dollars away from reaching our established goal of $3.46 million. This is not only needed to further interior renovations but as well, fund a permanent endowment to ensure the continued success of The REES.”
Work continued in November to delaminate the interior surfaces of a conjoined structure some of which was built in 1865 and the remainder in 1939. “Peeling away these layers of history will allow us to see the structure for what it is so that when we reach the bidding process all will be exposed eliminating a great deal of assumptions.” commented Pontius.
A known structural problem within a portion of the 1939 foundation will need to be stabilized this spring using a helical pier system and then re-building a portion of masonry on the northeast corner prior to the installation of a new roof system. “This will ensure the building envelope is sound and protected.” said Brent Martin who serves as the project architect. “Overall we are finding this building to be very sound, with tons of concrete and a timber truss roof system that will support any modern day equipment load for heating and cooling.” Preserved are the original blueprints created by well-respected Plymouth architect Alvis O’Keefe who was hired by Stewart and Opal Rees in July of 1939 to create what was billed as one of the finest rural community movie palaces in all of Indiana and possibly the Midwest boasting the first of its kind mother’s room for fussy babies. O’Keefe brought this project together in a period of nine months and a budget of $75,000 for an opening in February of 1940. The projected re-construction of this art deco space is $2.86MM.
“When you think of downtown Plymouth, it is hard to imagine the view without including The REES Theatre. The bright, shining marquee has been a fundamental anchor of our hometown for decades when many others have completely disappeared.” said Pontius.
The REES Project Committee is spending a great deal of time researching energy efficient systems that are environmentally friendly and LEED driven (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) throughout this restoration to assure its long term viability.
The REES Theatre Inc. is an established 501(c)3, not-for-profit where 100% of your gift will become an investment in further economic development through the arts, education and celebratory events. Capture the season of giving in partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation and place a gift amount into a non-permanent fund that has been established for the restoration effort or a permanent endowment fund that will remain to assist with ongoing operational costs. Payable to: REES Theater Fund, c/o MCCF, P.O. Box 716, Plymouth, IN 46563 or online at: WWW.REESPROJECT.COM