Gila Theatre Still Shuttered, El Sol Theatre To Become Performing Arts Center
SILVER CITY, NM — After a protracted battle with Town officials over the safety of the building, the Gila Theatre was shuttered last summer, perhaps forever.
Town of Silver City building and fire safety officials first cited the owners of the Gila Theatre in the winter of 2001-02, after a complaint by a theatre patron that they had nearly been hit by a piece of falling material from the auditorium ceiling.
Despite efforts by the owners to repair the ceiling and roof, which had been chronically leaky almost since the buiding’s opening in 1950, a bitter public and legal battle ensued, culminating in the court-ordered closure of the building and the placement of concrete barricades in front of the facility by Town officials.
Although barricades have been removed and rhetoric has been toned down, legal proceedings continue in the case and the building remains closed, with it’s interior condition unknown.
The marquee periodically announces that the building is up for sale, but the rumored asking price of half a million dollars, combined with the needed repairs and renovations, seem to ensure that the grand theatre will remain vacant for some time to come.
Meanwhile, the owners of the theatre company have also closed their other screen, El Sol Theatre, located across the main street from the Gila, and relocated to the Albuquerque area. While the Gila remains under their control, ownership of El Sol has reverted to its former owner, who has sold it to a local non-profit who is planning a performing arts center in the building. The Sol Center for the Performing Arts is slated to open in 2004.