As it approaches a century of existence, the State Theatre in Downtown Sioux Falls inches closer to being restored. Currently, the labor of love is led by a successful businessman determined to reach the finish.

Built in 1926, the State Theatre has required extensive upgrades to return to form. Board President John Swedeen told KSOO News the checklist is long with progress evident.

“We had to get everything out of there. The job was gargantuan. It was behind the walls, on the roof, in the basement places the public is not going to see. What people can see is a beautiful lobby, concession area, the main level restrooms are completed. Now it’s time to restore the orchestra, auditorium, balcony, stage and all the beautiful plaster artwork.”

Three and a half million dollars has already been raised for repairs and Swedeen looks for quite a bit more.

“Our goal is to raise $5.5 million. To put it in perspective, it’s a 25,000 square foot building. If we were going to build it today at $500 a square foot, which we couldn’t do, that’s a $12.5 million effort. This is not unusual for a project like this. The average time it takes to get one of these done is sixteen years. I like to tell people we’re right on schedule.”

Tours are available by appointment, but Swedeen notes that when people walk by the location on Phillips Avenue a lot of them take long looks inside the front window.

There is no indication yet on a firm date when the State Theatre will be fully open for business.

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