Did you know that the Palace Theater was one of the FIRST buildings in Hilo to have Air Conditioning when it opened up in 1925? A system was installed after World War II (if these walls could talk…) but went defunct in the 1970’s. Now, with the Palace celebrating its 90th Anniversary this year, we are pleased to officially launch our Theater Comfort Campaign!
As with many older buildings, the Palace Theater does not conform to the modern day definition of a comfortable and efficient venue. Our current ‘Strategic Plan’ prioritizes improving theater comfort. The first step is a joint Photo-Voltaic and Air Conditioning installation (PV/AC). The installation of PV (solar) panels will provide the capacity to operate an Air Conditioning system. Current electric usage costs the theater approximately $18,000 annually so a PV conversion is necessary in order to afford operation of the AC. The PV system investment is $138,000 for a high-quality 10 panel system. Estimated cost for AC adds an additional $100,000, making our total goal $238,000.
To date, we have $110, 846 in hand and as pledges. We hope to raise $50,000-$75,000 in grants. Still, we must raise an additional $1000,000+ directly from the Hilo community. As daunting as this task may seem, we know that if we do not improve comfort in the theater for both performers and audience members, our programming and patrons will suffer. We want to keep the Palace Theater an important part of the vibrancy of Hilo’s downtown. It is a beautiful old building, part of Hilo’s history, and an acoustically superb auditorium. Theater comfort is essential to continued success. We expect this project to take two to three years to complete and donations can be spread out over this time period.
The Palace Theater is a jewel in Hilo, let’s keep it polished by maintaining and improving it. History charges us with this task for future generations. If you or anyone you know might be interested in supporting this project, please do not hesitate to share our mission with them!
For information on how YOU can help, check out our Theater Comfort Campaign donation page!