Schenectady County

Restoration returning Scotia Cinema to original, larger size

Scotia Cinema may look a little more like it did decades ago when it reopens today after a week of r

Scotia Cinema may look a little more like it did decades ago when it reopens today after a week of renovations.

The screen will be slightly bigger and pushed back about 20 feet to 91 feet from the audience as part of changes by owner Richard Adams to restore the theater to its original dimensions of the 1930s and to make room for 50 more seats in the fall.

The theater on Mohawk Avenue used to extend all the way to the back of the building. In the 1950s, Adams said, the owners at the time put a two-story laundromat back there because theaters were going through some tough times with competition from television. He wanted to move the screen back to its rightful place. He has been ripping down the masonry wall between the theater and where the old laundromat was.

“A lot of the work has kind of been going on behind the scenes for the last year or two,” he said.

The new screen will also be slightly bigger — 13 feet by 31 feet compared with 13 feet by 28 feet. Also, the new distance will provide better lines of sight to the screen from the balcony, according to Adams.

The walls are going to be painted a darker color to match the new portion. There are also two new exits in the newer portion, replacing an existing one on the left side of theater. Also part of the renovations are handicapped accessible bathrooms and new fire sprinklers.

This fall, he plans to install 50 more seats to boost the total capacity to 327. This will help with days when some of the more popular films are screened.

“It’s nice to have some extra seats because we sell out a lot,” Adams said. “We don’t like to turn people away.”

The theater will reopen with a matinee showing of the animated comedy “Rio.” Then, tonight, the drama “Water for Elephants” will begin a run.

Adams estimated the cost of the renovations at $250,000.

There have been a lot of changes in recent years at the cinema, which has been in business since 1929. Last year, the facade and marquee were upgraded with the help of a grant from the Metroplex Development Authority.

Adams has owned the theater for close to 30 years, having purchased it out of foreclosure in 1981. The theater is popular in part because people want to see movies that have been out only for a month or so and are offered at reasonable prices.

Tickets are $4.50 for adults and $3 for seniors and for children under 12. The concessions are also inexpensive as well.

“We have a neighborhood kind of feel to us — old-fashioned,” he said.

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