After almost a year of delays, restoration work will begin on the King Opera House. Pre-construction meetings will be held yet this week. Albia Area Improvement Association, which owns the century-old building, has approved bids and has inked a contract with Christner Construction of Ottumwa to do the first phase work.
Financing for the $650,000 first phase was secured with a $100,000 grant from the city’s L.O.S.T. funds. The first phase includes the complete restoration of the front of the building, returning it to it’s original red brick, arched entrance design, adding a new HVAC system, remodeling and enlarging the concession stand, building new modern restroom facilities, repairing broken roof joists on the southwest side of the building and doing a complete tuck-pointing of the building.
The contract calls for work to be completed in 180 days.
The King Opera House Board will close its movie business throughout the restoration project. The King Kids Drama Camp will also be cancelled for this year. The Restoration Days Follies will not be held in the theater for the first time in 35 years. Plans are being made for the show to be performed on an outdoor stage on the square.
King Opera House board members and volunteers spent the early part of June moving costumes to a temporary location at the Kendall Place. They also moved supplies from the storage closet and concession stand to the front of the auditorium.
“This has been a long and sometimes frustrating process,” said King Opera House Board President Dave Paxton. “We are all extremely excited to see the work actually start. I think the community is going to have a lot of fun the rest of the summer and into the fall seeing the transformation of the building back to its original splendor.”