Theatre will close for approximately 12 weeks beginning March 14
Proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Drexel, Columbus’ non-profit, 1930s Art Deco cinema, will begin renovation of the theatre’s iconic marquee, entrance, and lobby in an anticipated 12-week project helmed by M+A Architects and Elford Construction. As such, the Drexel will close to the public beginning March 14.
Thanks to a grant from the Bexley Community Foundation, the Drexel’s iconic marquee will be restored to its original Art Deco splendor. Work will include replacement of the existing neon tubing, removal of the existing false ceiling beneath the marquee, and rehabilitation of its original ceiling. New lighting will be added beneath the marquee, and colored lights will be reinstalled behind the glass block.
In keeping with tradition, signage for films and coming attractions will use the same manual lettering. The entry doors will be replaced with new doors based on the building’s original design.
In 2012, Friends of the Drexel replaced the barrel roof above the three theatres to protect the integrity of the structure. In this phase of renovation, the roof over the lobby portion of the building will be replaced.
The entry lobby will be beautified and the original terrazzo flooring will be restored. Damage to the walls and ceiling will be repaired and repainted, retaining the original ceiling design.
New carpet with an Art Deco design will be laid in the main lobby, and the existing, non-original concessions counter will be removed. A new, full-service concessions counter, complimentary to the Art Deco design, will be installed, and its dropped ceiling area will be replaced and restored to its original height. The plaster crown molding will also be restored. New wall sconces will be installed. The enclosure to the second-floor stairway, added in the 1990s, will be removed and the area restored to its original appearance.
Final Phase of Renovation
Friends of the Drexel, in conjunction with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), is currently fundraising to secure the remaining capital needed to fund the final phase of renovation. The final phase will include new seating, flooring, and wall coverings in the Drexel’s three theatres and installation of special staging, lighting, and sound for community events in the large theatre.
Completed Work to Date
The upcoming renovations are in addition to work already completed by Friends of the Drexel including newly constructed men’s and women’s restroom facilities, replacement of the barrel roof over the three theatres, replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, conversion of all three theatres to state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, and installation of a high-tech, closed captioning system for hearing-impaired patrons.
“When Friends of the Drexel acquired the theatre five years ago, and hired CAPA to run it, we said our work wouldn’t be done until we turned it around financially and restored this cultural jewel to its Art Deco splendor,” stated Richard Stoff, Chairman of the Friends of the Drexel Board. “We’re about to realize our vision with gifts from the Lazarus, Crane, and Jeffrey families, as well as hundreds of other citizens, and generous support from the Bexley Community Foundation, Franklin County, City of Bexley, and the State of Ohio.”