CUSHING – At Monday’s special meeting, the Payne County Economic Development Authority extended the $15,000 grant for renovation of the Dunkin Theatre in Cushing until June 30. 

In August of last year, the development authority authorized the grant and placed a deadline of March 2 for the funding to be completed.

The historic Dunkin Theatre on Broadway Street in downtown Cushing was first opened in 1926 by Hiram Dunkin and has been closed following a 5.0 magnitude earthquake that struck northwest of Cushing in 2016.

"This has been an unbelievable huge project,” said Geoffrey Beasley, a principal owner of the theatre.

The renovations completed to date include a new fire sprinkler system, water and sewer lines, and a heat and air conditioning unit. The five-man crew spent 17 weeks installing the new sprinkler system.

The City of Cushing has placed a new electrical transformer outside the building to supply electricity to the renovated theater and has upgraded water lines to the project. Beasley is waiting on CenterPoint Energy to install a new gas line to the building.

“We have completed the life blood of the building,” said contractor Steve Tracy, who is working on the project.

Beasley has targeted May 1 to open the renovated theatre along with Godofredo’s Pizzeria and Tap Room in an adjacent building on the east side of Dunkin Theatre.

Tracy has removed the concrete floor under the pizzeria and is waiting for the concrete contractor to pour 6,500 square feet of concrete for the new floor next week after plumbing and electrical lines were installed under the floor.

Greg Babinec, the director for the theatre, said a tap room at the back of the pizzeria will have a bar and serve eight draft beers stored in a beer cave. The beer will flow underground over 60 feet through a glycol system to serve the coldest craft beer in the area.

A show kitchen will allow customers to chat with a culinary trained chef about the menu and pizza produced from a brick oven and an adjacent “New York style” oven. The restrooms will be shared by the restaurant and the theatre.

The theatre has a retractable screen allowing live vaudeville shows to be held in conjunction with a movie. A renovated balcony and theatre will allow up to 350 persons to view a movie. Live musical performances would accommodate up to 450 persons with standing room availability.

The theatre will have high quality surround sound and lights installed by Sonic Equipment Company. The exterior will be revised to place a skin over the rusty metal frame and trimmed with a new digital marquee.

“We don’t have an unlimited amount of money to do this project and we are doing a lot ourselves. In the end, we will be proud to have participated in this project, because we had a hand in it,” Beasley said. 

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