The Apollo Theatre in Oberlin, Ohio was built in 1913 as an 840-seat, single-screen movie house. In 2009, Oberlin College purchased the theatre in an effort to keep the historic venue alive as a first-run movie house, while providing new space for the college's Cinema Studies program and for community events and performances. Westlake Reed Leskosky designed the renovation with an eye toward preserving the local landmark's architectural uniqueness while providing contemporary function and amenities.
Lobby, Code and ADA Upgrades
Phase 1, completed in October 2009, focused on meeting building code and ADA requirements, adding digital projection and sound, and expanding the lobby. The 1950s-style marquee, outdoor ticket booth and vinyl-padded walls remain intact. A new indoor ticket booth was added and a new concession area was carved out of the auditorium, reducing the seating to 500. Projection equipment was relocated, allowing a single operator to run all aspects of the theatre and freeing up space on the second floor for new programs. Other changes include: a new theater manager office, upgrades to life safety systems, improvements to HVAC, installation of a new fire suppression system, improved emergency egress and replacement and repairs of exterior vitrolite and masonry. The project was fast tracked with construction completed in two months.
Cinema Studies Program + Auditorium Renovation
Phase 2, completed in 2012, added facilities for the college's Cinema Studies program, including a multi-media center. The historic main auditorium was upgraded with new seating and finishes, 35 mm film and 3-C cinema projection and THX 5.2 surround sound capabilities. Audiovisual signal can be sent/received across the campus single mode fiber system to various other performance venues on campus.