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AUBURN - The first noticeable work started last week on the Schine Theater when a construction crew removed the building's aqua-colored metal facade.

The metal siding was taken to the Webster shop of Leo J. Roth Corp., where it will be restored and then put back up, said Cayuga County Arts Council Vice President Nancy Hussey.

Repairing the masonry work on the front of the building is also a part of the current project. It will take about a month to complete the job.

The facade work is the next phase in the much-anticipated restoration of the historic South Street theater. Asbestos removal at the downtown historic theater is also part of the project.

"Nothing has been visible from the street, so this is the first visible evidence of the progress of the project," Hussey said.

Leo J. Roth Corp. is being paid $77,360 to complete the facade work.

The other projects that have been completed include repairs to the roof and masonry on the other three sides of the building.

Arts Council officials are awaiting word on exactly how a $250,000 federal grant can be used. If there are no restrictions, they hope the front doors can be restored using those funds.

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The Iversen Construction Corp., which completed a similar project on Geneva's Smith Opera House, is the project manager. Arts council members have estimated it will take about $5 million to renovate the deteriorating theater.

The arts council purchased the theater in 1998.

City officials hope the theater will one day be the centerpiece of downtown's revitalization.

Staff writer Craig Fox can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 237 or criag.fox@lee.net

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