BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Saenger Theater in Biloxi is getting even closer to its former glory.
Renovations that began earlier this year to the outside of the theater is expected to be finished by December. And while there still remains a lot to be done, the project is making city officials happy along with those who have created the Saenger Theater as their second home.
So far, a new fly tower has been constructed, and a new roofing system has been installed in hopes of stopping the chronic leaking problem. Also, a new HVAC system should be installed this week.
"We have lots of people say we could be using that money to replace water, sewer, fix this kind of stuff, " Biloxi Engineering Director Christy LeBatard. “But if we lose that Saenger, it’s something we never get back. That’s our history. We can’t get that back. We will always be fixing water, sewer, drainage, roads. That stuff never goes away.”
Most of this work on the outside is finished, but what remains is to seal the outside brick, and that should be finished by the end of this year. The repairs on the inside, however, is another story.
LeBatard hopes that any remaining money from the outside work could be used to at least start interior renovations, and that basics like plumbing and electricity will be priority.
But more funding sources will have to be found.
Dance instructor Cheryl Black is excited to see the Saenger getting some love. Her studio’s productions, including “The Nutcracker,” have made the Saenger home for decades.
“This makes me hopeful,” said Black. “This is exciting. We’ve done so much here. I’m excited. This looks great, a lot better than the last time I saw it.”
Jennifer Krohn Densing, owner of The Next Level dance studio, also has made the Saenger her second home and so have hundreds of her students.
“It’s been a while waiting for them to get started,” said Densing. “But it’s wonderful to see them finally making good on their promise to not only repair it but bring it back to life.”
The city received $2 million from the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund to help the project along with a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and about $1.5 million in city bond funds.