TIPTON, Iowa—Restoring Tipton’s historic Hardacre Theater will cost approximately $3.8 million, according to the Hardacre Theater Preservation Association, a nonprofit entity that owns the theater.
Since purchasing the theater at a cost of $96,100 in February 2014, the HTPA has been working with an Iowa City-based architectural firm to determine the theater’s needs and the costs attached. The final cost includes a mix of operational, historic preservation, and damage repair requirements.
“Our path from here includes a tricky balance between the building’s technological, foundational, and historic preservation needs,” said Greg Brown, HTPA president. “We want to prepare this historical landmark for its next 100 years of operation while keeping its place in Tipton’s past. When we’re finished, the result will be really spectacular and will draw audiences to Tipton from miles around.”
Plans for the theater include renovating its auditorium, widening the lobby to the two storefronts that neighbor it, and turning the second-floor apartments into a community meeting space. Among the theater’s needs:
New electricity, plumbing and mechanical needs
New fly system, sound system and lighting for theatrical productions
New movie projection equipment and screen
Interior renovation for the lobby, auditorium and second story meeting hall
The HTPA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, plans to raise funds for the renovation using a combination of private donations, regional and national grants, and tax credits. The group believes that private donations will carry approximately $1.2 million of the total cost.
The theater applied for historic designation with the State Historical Society of Iowa last week. If approved, the next step will be applying for the National Register of Historic Places for the Hardacre.
“State and national historic status opens a lot of doors in terms of grants,” Brown said.
The group also needs sustaining donations to help covers its current operating costs, including utilties, taxes and insurance.
The group has also consulted with theater owners in other small Iowa towns that have successfully pursued historic preservation. “The Hardacre’s final dollar figure is pretty much in line with what we’ve seen with other renovated small-town Iowa theaters,” Brown said.
For more information or to donate, go to thehardacre.org.