Hogansville repairs Royal Theater roof, prepares for repairs at future city hall

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019

HOGANSVILLE – Hogansville’s Royal Theater will only serve in its current role as city hall for a few more months, but thanks to recent roof repairs, the 82-year-old building is now in good shape to finish strong as a government building before becoming a theater once again.

Repairs to the roof of the Royal Theater began in March and are expected to be complete this week, according to Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz. The City of Hogansville plans to eventually renovate the entire Royal Theater into a 250-seat theater and community center. The renovations will follow construction on Hogansville’s new city hall in the former PNC Bank building. Stankiewicz said ensuring that the roof of the theater, which was built in 1937, was in good shape was an important step in that process, since it will make interior renovations possible without risking water damage.

“It is really exciting for us,” Stankiewicz said. “It is the first step in the Royal Theater to complete a long-term project, an expensive project. We are lining up sources of funding now.  We are just so excited because we think — I’ve said this many times — the restoration of that theater is going to serve as a centerpiece for downtown, and I think the revitalization of downtown is absolutely critical.”

The repairs to the Royal Theater roof cost $87,350 and were funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax as well as a $20,000 grant from the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Environmental Resources. Those funds covered extensive re-covering of the roof.

“They stripped it down completely on all levels. They worked on the roof of the marquee,” Stankiewicz said. “They did the various levels. They even did the very top where there used to be a metal sculpture up there, which we are going to replace.”

While the City of Hogansville no longer has the original statue, it has commissioned Eagle River Forge to replicate the metal sculpture based on photographs as part of the theater restoration. As is advisable with any renovation of a more than 80-year-old building, the Hogansville City Council made plans for whatever turned out to be under the visible layer of roofing, but what contractors from Roof Depot Inc. uncovered turned out to be better news than they could have hoped for.

“With a roof job, you never know what you are going to find when you take the roof off,” Stankiewicz said. “You never know what is underneath. There was some contingency on the bid for what they would find, and what they found was a solid oak roof, which they said people haven’t done for years and years, and it is in excellent condition.”

Construction on the roof of the Royal Theater is expected to be complete by the end of the week, and construction on the roof of the former PNC bank building is expected to begin after final plans receive state approval.

“We already picked a base design, and that base design is based on using as much of the existing structure as we could and doing as little reconstructing or reconfiguring as possible,” Stankiewicz said. “So, it is not extensive.”

The Hogansville City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the architect for the renovations for the new city hall in the former bank. A Georgia Department of Corrections’ construction crew will perform interior work on the building.