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Our blog has been dormant for a while. It’s time to bring it back on a regular basis because we’ve got progress to report!

First of all, I’m happy to say that the renovation of the State Theatre is on pace for a mid-2020 reopening. I so look forward to the day when work on the first floor has been finished, and the doors can reopen to the public for the historic building’s designed purpose: showing movies!

Of course, the construction schedule for coming months has variables, including the availability of skilled craftspeople to do some precise design work and, of course, the weather.


Scaffold 2019

It took three weeks to set up scaffolding throughout the auditorium


As our Board President, John Swedeen, often points out, this is the type of project that cannot be unnecessarily rushed. It’s more important that the work be done right. So, we have to remain flexible.

However, contributions from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and from the City of Sioux Falls have made full restoration of the first floor achievable. A few months ago, Mr. Sanford announced that he was donating $3.5 million to help restore the auditorium. The city, meantime, is contributing about $1.5 million to upgrade safety features.

Presently, the interior of the auditorium is filled with scaffolding from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall, making every square foot of the space accessible to workers.


Film Reels

The preservation of artifacts throughout the Theatre remains a top priority


Bill Lienke of Journey Construction in Sioux Falls is the construction superintendent. Craig Holmen, also of Journey, is the project manager. Other companies involved in the project include Architecture Incorporated of Sioux Falls and Conrad Schmitt Studios, a Wisconsin company that assisted locally with  the renovation the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

The State Theatre opened in 1926 as the City’s best, state-of-the art vaudeville and movie house. It closed in 1991, gradually deteriorated and, for a while, was on track for demolition. Community-minded groups saved the building and have gradually restored it. Now, finally, restoration work has reached the point that reopening the downtown entertainment jewel is within the community’s grasp.

As you might recall, the current phase of restoration work will only reopen the first floor of the beautiful building. We need to raise at least another $2.5 million to restore the second and third floors. Spaces that still require funding in order to be renovated include the balcony, mezzanine, and gathering and office space.

You may make a contribution to help us meet our long-range goal or check out the colorful history of the State, on our website:

Thank you for your help and for your patience!

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