SOMERSET, Ky. — The City of Somerset will make history on Saturday, June 11, when officials unveil the newly renovated Virginia Theater to the public.
A free community open house will be from 6 to 8 p.m. June 11 at the venue, located at 214 East Mt. Vernon Street in downtown Somerset. The event marks the first time this facility has been open to the public in a quarter of a century — built-in 1922, The Virginia has been vacant since 1994 when an ice storm caused the building’s roof to collapse.
“We are beyond excited to open this beautiful space and share our vision for The Virginia as a live performance venue with residents and visitors,” Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said. “This building has such a rich and significant place in our community’s history. Our team has worked tirelessly to keep the dream alive of bringing the venue back to life. We are grateful for the incredible efforts of so many before us, and we are thrilled we could carry those efforts across the finish line to reopen this building. I am proud of the work that’s been done here and eager to celebrate it with the community.”
Those efforts — which include Downtown Somerset Development Corporation’s initial purchase of the building after it closed in 1994, fundraising initiatives, roof repair, and clearing the building of debris — will be recognized during the event.
People walking through the venue on June 11 will be able to experience the building’s renovation while reminiscing about its past as a movie cinema. Somerset firm DECO Architects led project design, and Kentucky contractor D.W. Wilburn completed the renovation, which has been more than a year in the making.
Keck said every effort has been made to preserve the integrity of the building while also converting it into a modern, adaptable venue for live music, theater, and private events. Doing so was essential to have a strong economic impact, he said — being able to generate revenue through events is key to its operational efficacy.
Live music performances at The Virginia begin in July.
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