May 21, 2013
A movie theatre for downtown Albion is one step closer to reality as Albion College announces a $220,000 pledge in support of the Bohm restoration campaign, spearheaded by the locally based Friends of the Bohm Theatre.
"Albion College fully understands the importance of the Bohm to the community and to our students, faculty and staff," said Albion College President Donna Randall. "We're pleased to be part of this successful project."
The College's initial $100,000 gift brings the campaign closer to achieving the $1.8-million fundraising goal for the Bohm’s interior renovation plan. Work inside the Bohm begins this spring, with the theatre scheduled to open in 2014. This gift was made possible through a community enhancement grant to the College from the Midland-based Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation.
"These funds will have a huge impact on our efforts to move the interior renovation forward," said Elizabeth Schultheiss, executive director of the Albion Community Foundation. "The College’s challenge was one of our first commitments for the interior restoration, and helped us in our efforts to leverage support from a variety of funders, including the State of Michigan."
Albion's remaining pledge will be paid out over the first three years of the Bohm's operation, in order to provide free admission for Albion College students. The College had a similar arrangement with the Bohm's last owners, and based on that history, the Bohm could anticipate some 5,700 visits annually by College students.
Albion College has other ties to the Bohm Theatre project through alumni who have played key roles in moving it forward. Dick Mitchell, a 1973 graduate, is the lead architect for the restoration, and preservation carpenter Robin Adair, from the Class of 2000, restored the windows. Barbara Rafaill, a 1972 graduate, has assisted with fund development, grant writing, and historical research.
Albion's Bohm Theatre opened its doors on Christmas Day 1929, and was a popular entertainment spot until its closure in 2008. Friends of the Bohm Theatre was organized in 2010, with the mission to revive the Bohm as a working theatre and restore much of the original floor plan and architectural detail. More information is available at www.bohmtheatre.org.