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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 196 (185)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 196
Page 196

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 196

A Study in Low-Cost Quonset Construction

How One Operator Utilized Simplified Design And Materials To Reduce Building Expenses

Happy is the theatre operator who discovers ways and means of controlling costs, especially initial costs! And when he erccts an attractive, well-equipped plant on a comparatively modest budget, even under the unfavorable circumstances of high priCes and other economic headaches, the event is worth recording.

For many operators faced with the high cost of building, necessity is both the father and mother of invention. Take Albert Hefferan and the Crown Theatre in llIarne, Michigan. for example. Mr. Hejferan, who in 1947 saw the handwriting of high rentals on the wall, solved the. problem by moving from Coopersville where, he had operated a theatre for years to Marne and building his own house.

A Quality Patronage

Marne, in Western Michigan, not far from the famous furniture city, Grand Rapids, is the focal center of a potential


theatre audience of about five thousand, a predominantly well-to-do group of above-average education. This clientele obviously would not require a palatial metropolitan hall but would expect and demand up-to-date facilities and equipment. And that is precisely what Hefferan gave the Marne area citizenss the Crown Theatre, small in size but boasting appointments, facilities, and mechanical equipment that many larger theatres would be proud to own. Admission prices to this modern house were scaled low-33c and 130; 40c and 16c, net with tax.

$61 Per Seat

Designed by Architect Emil Zillmer, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Crown was built with a seating capacity of 408 at a cost of $25,000 or about $61 per seat (not including equipment which cost another $25,000.) The savings made possible in the original building were applied to the purchase of the best available mechanical equipment. In the normal theatre construction of even prewar days when costs were still within reason, this figure approximated $100 per seat, a considerable differential in

reverse direction when the prices of th two periods are considered.

Construction Data

The answer is Quonset construction. Heiferan very wisely utilized prefabricated Quonset steel units for his auditorium assembly; and grey haydite blocks and concrete, painted with waterproofing compound, for entrance and boiler room sections at the front and back respectively. The finished building, set on a lot 100 feet wide and 400 feet deep, is an outstanding example of the unusually effective and economical theatre design to which Quonset construction can be adapted by artistic planning and skillful engineering.

The Crown lies along a straight axis and has a 42-foot frontage. The Quonset auditorium is 80 feet deep; the front structure 12 feet deep. Set back from a street of old maples, the building is reached by sidewalk through frontage planted in glass and shrubbery. At the rear is a large parking space.

NEUTRAL SHADES oi Celotex plank affixed to tuning strips follow the contour of the quonset arch with good acoustic results. A light cove. eight ieet above the lloor provides all necessary auditorium light for patron safety.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 196