- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The downtown Hattiesburg skyscape currently has a hole in it, but in another three weeks or so, the beacon welcoming patrons to the city’s grand dame of a theater will be back.

The Saenger Theater sign that has towered over Forest Street for decades is getting a major face-lift at Headrick Signs in Laurel. The project will restore the 29-foot-tall, steel-framed, aluminum-skinned landmark to its former glory.

“Everything will stay the same,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions. “We had repainted it once when it was on the building, but it really needs to be sandblasted for the paint to do well. This time, we said we’re going to take it off the wall.

“Headrick Signs came and removed it, and it will come back just like it was, except shiny and new.”

Matt Largen, Headrick Signs account executive, said the sign was in good shape, but its rich burgundy, gold and white colors had faded over the years.

“We have gotten the color match now, and we’re ready to go,” Largen said. “The paint had faded, and become kind of discolored. We needed to remove the old paint and repaint it.”

Headrick also will replace or repair any of the “chase” lights that run along the rim of the sign in an off-on sequence.

Taylor said the commission had asked Headrick to look into the possibility of replacing the current bulbs with the more energy-friendly, light-emitting diode bulbs.

“What we don’t know right now is if we can get LED bulbs that fire on a faster rate,” Taylor said. “We actually tried some time back to make it more a little more energy efficient with LEDs, but they ignite at a different rate than incandescents, so the ‘chase’ was really off the kind of circular pattern that it does. (The LEDs), they just didn’t come on as fast.

“But we asked (Headrick), while they were doing it, to see if there are any LED bulbs that have been improved to turn off and on any faster, and if so, we’re going to go that route. If not, we’ll stay with the incandescent bulbs we’re already using.”

Taylor said the project, which was budgeted at $9,190, has been an eye-opener.

“When they took it down, they held it about six inches off the ground before they rotated it to put it on a trailer, and I realized it was still about 60 percent the height of the building when it was almost at street level,” he said. “The higher up it goes you lose some of the scale. It’s a very, very long sign, and we were quite amazed at it.”

The sign, which is 86 inches wide and 30 inches deep, will be returned to its old spot on the theater, which opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1929.

“Oh, it’s definitely coming back,” Largen said. “We’re hopeful that within about the next three weeks we’ll have it back there. After we refurbish it, it’s going to look brand new.”

___

Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide