The home of the Portland Civic Players is an old Sun Theater movie house built in 1948. While
we have been able to keep up with general maintenance, due to the age of the building, we are
finding there are projects that are bigger in scope that we need to tackle. Safety concerns and
functionality have made rebuilding our marquee, along with sealing the outside of the building to
prevent leaks, the priority for our organization.
The marquee on the building is the original marquee, which is a heavy steel structure and we are
starting to see the strain it is putting on the front of the building. Rain often comes through the
panels on the side and then drains out via the holes left by broken or missing light bulbs. The
wiring in the structure is the old knob and tube wiring and needs to be updated. The marquee
letters are getting more difficult to find and our Michigan winters take its toll on our supply. The
letters often are blown off and shatter on the sidewalk, which continues to limit our supply. Due
to the current nature of the marquee, which requires the letters to be taken up and down, it is
difficult and impractical to be used by the community at large, especially in inclement weather.
With the help of local contractors, the new marquee will have the exact look of the original
marquee, but will include several updates to make it functional for our organization and the
community, and also address the safety aspect. The frame will be made out of aluminum,
eliminating the stress on the face of the building, and the panels and letters will be replaced with
energy efficient LED screens. This will allow us to maximize the display for multiple events,
both for ourselves and for the community, and to alternate information on the marquee itself.
The outside of the marquee will be restored to its original look, with over 200 energy efficient
LED bulbs on both the bottom of the marquee and the surrounding LED screens. The metal
framing of the screens will be powder coated which will help with the durability of the metal and
eliminate the need to continue painting to keep the marquee looking decent. Even painting at this
point doesn’t help the look much. The project will also include the necessary requirements to
ensure all wiring is within compliance of all current safety codes.
The exterior renovation is the beginning of a multi-year goal to renovate the entire theater. The
outside is the first phase of our journey to make our space more inviting, appealing, functional
and safe for the organization and the community we serve.