Calumet Theatre’s elevator installation to begin this month

CALUMET — After the Village Council and Calumet Theatre Board agreed to a lease renewal, construction of a long-anticipated elevator from the first floor to the balcony area of the theater should begin by the end of October, said Village President Dave Geisler.

“I would assume it will begin later this month,” Geisler said. “I have a hunch, because their season is slowing down, and it will be somewhat disruptive. It won’t prevent them from mounting performances in the theatre, but the lobby in the village hall won’t be as accessible.”

Geisler said plans call for the elevator to be installed in a hallway that connects the Village Hall to the theater.

“They’ll take out a portion of a restroom, it’ll be smaller in size, but it will be in hallway,” he said. “This has really been much anticipated, and I mean we get questions on when is it going to happen, and how soon is it going to happen, and I now believe they have all their construction contracts in place, so it’s exciting.”

The elevator will preserve the historical context of the hallway, as well as the balcony area, Geisler said. The theater’s board worked closely with Keweenaw National Historical Park personnel to ensure it “doesn’t really damage the fabric of the building,” Geisler said.

The construction plans call for the elevator doors to be more or less hidden from immediate view.

“Originally, it was envisioned that it would face the lobby of the village hall,” Geisler said, “so you would face those doors immediately, but now from what I understand, it will be around the corner and so the doors won’t face this hallway, and so it won’t be readily apparent as you walk into the building.”

During the planning process, the theater board has been in frequent contact with the village counsel, explaining the elevator’s intended location, what it will look like, the specifics as to its capacity, and other details.

The lease for the theater has been approved, Geisler said, and the fundraising campaign has reached its $325,000 goal, so everything is in place to begin construction of the elevator.

“There’s really nothing holding it back now,” Geisler said.