Crews Make Progress On Paramount Theatre

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Eight feet of flood water inundated the main floor of the Paramount Theater in 2008.

Restoration work began last summer. Now, six months into construction, crews are making a lot of progress.

"We've noticed a lot of activity going on over there," said Basket Bowtique Owner Linda McConnell.

McConnell has a front row seat to all of the action at the Paramount Theatre. She runs the shop across the street.

"I'll be really anxious to see what all is going on in there," said Basket Bowtique Owner Linda McConnell.

The construction crew is getting every piece ready to go for the grand opening this fall. Behind the recognizable marquee sits a maze of scaffolding. Workers are already completing major projects like the orchestra pit.

"At the lowest point you're about 20 feet below the finished floor of the building. That was very complex and it's good to have that piece behind us," said Ryan Companies Construction Project Manager John Ryan.

Visitors will eventually see speckled red walls along the main hall ways.

"They've done a historic paint analysis. They've been able to find exactly what colors the paramount was painted back in 1928," said Orchestra Iowa CEO Robert Massey.

Experts are also climbing high into the air to begin the meticulous process of painting the massive dome. Floors and decorations are also getting a face lift.

"The mirrors have been taken to a local shop to be re-silvered," Ryan said.

It's that attention to detail that has many, like McConnell, ready to see the Paramount Theater curtain rise once again.

"I look forward to attending some new events there," she said.

Project leaders host a tour of the Paramount every month for the public to see the progress.

The next one is Jan. 17 at 5:00 p.m.
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