Eckles and Warner announce theatre progress

posted by Michael Zoldessy on April 11, 2014 at 4:56 am

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NEW CASTLE, PA — David Esposito, Principal and Project Manager of Eckles Architects and Engineering, and Jerry Kern, President of of the Historic Warner Cascade Theatre (formerly Warner Film Center), today announced that their companies have entered into an agreement to develop final architectural drawings and specifications for the reconstruction of the historic Warner Cascade Theatre at 18 S. Mill Street, downtown New Castle.

Eckles Project Manager Mark Scheller will take charge of the project, which consists of recreating the original nickelodeon auditoriums that comprised the Cascade Theatre, using original drawings of the building from Eckels’ archives along with photographs and even the memories of individuals who remember the Warners’ first theatre.

According to Jack Oberleitner, Warner Trustee and Project Development Director, “Our end goal is to transport visitors to the Cascade Theatre back in time to 1907 when the Cascade originally opened. Every thing the visitor sees, hears, touches and even smells will be as close to the 1907 original as possible.”

“The completed project will include replicas of the original 5-cent and 25-cent auditoriums, a documentary screening room and a gift shop. The lobby area will contain displays of old movie posters, theatre projection equipment, photographs, and artifacts from many of the dozen or more theatres that once illuminated the streets of New Castle,” commented Jerry Kern, Warner Cascade President.

“Patrons can munch popcorn from the souvenir gift shop while watching short silent films from the turn of the 20th Century and a full-length documentary film about the origins and growth of the Warner entertainment empire. In addition, we will offer lectures about the early days in New Castle as well as special programs for students. All in all, the Historic Warner Cascade Theatre replica will be an ever changing attraction for both local visitors and tourists.”

Architectural plans are expected to finalize by the beginning of May with actual construction occurring throughout the summer and fall. A Grand Opening is scheduled for February 2, 2015, 108 years from the date of the original opening.

“We want to thank all of the people who have contributed time, expertise and money to this landmark project,” said Kern. “The contributions to our recent Kickstarter campaign, a matching grant from the Lawrence County Commissioners, and those aiding in our recent vacation raffle have helped expedite the project of the Historic Warner Cascade Theatre. We are actively seeking corporate sponsorship along with continued local support to help finance the complete project.”

The public is invited to the Cascade website and Facebook for updates, membership and volunteer information.

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