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Friends of the Penn is a registered 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax deductable to the fullest extent of the law. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

2018 Project - Lobby and Second Floor HVAC

Prior to 2018, the Penn never had proper heating and air conditioning in the lobby. When the movies would begin and the doors were closed, the lobby would become very cold (in the winter) or very warm (in the summer.) This year, we teamed up with Conti Corporation again for a major HVAC project. We installed a new heat exchanger and air handler for the lobby, ran all new ductwork (which required the removal of the lobby ceiling), and installed a new AC condenser unit on the roof. The new system was completed just in time to beat the summer heat and has dramatically improved the comfort of our patrons and staff.

The second floor of the Penn consists of an office, restroom, projection booth, kitchen, and storage area. We had similar issues with heating and cooling of those areas (too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer.) The 2018 HVAC project also included a new furnace and air conditioning system for the second floor.

2017 Project - Kitchen Ventilation, Concrete, Staff Areas

The kitchen ventilation was improved in 2017. The Penn has always made its popcorn on-site and the ventilation has never been ideal. The new system does a better job of bringing fresh air into the building and filling downtown Plymouth with the aroma of fresh popcorn.

We replaced the concrete walkway on the side and rear of the Penn. The city of Plymouth had a project to replace the concrete in the Gathering and the some of the surrounding areas and it was a good opportunity for us to replace some deteriorated concrete and take advantage of the city's pricing.

In 2017 we also renovated the office and staff restroom, both of which had been negelected as we focused our attention on the renovation of the public spaces.

Finally, in we found it necessary to make some repairs and upgrades to the marquee this year. We had been experiencing some issues with flickering neon and overheating ballasts. The solution was to replace a few neon transformers and convert all of the fluorescent tubes to LED tubes. This fixed our flickering issues and will reduce our energy usage.

2016 Project - Brickwork and Building Security

In 2016, work continued with less visible but definitely necessary projects.

Our chimney was deteriorating and bricks were falling onto the roofs of the Penn and Jimmy Johns. We worked with Re-Brick Restoration to remove and replace the chimney to maintain the proper look and prevent any roof damage.

Our other peoject in 2016 was to upgrade our system of security cameras. We installed a system in 2009 when the new marquee was completed (the previous marquee had been damaged by delivery trucks but we had no way of knowing who caused the damage.) In 2016, we upgraded to high-resolution cameras and added a few new ones to keep an eye on other parts of the building.

2015 Project - Exterior Improvements

Who knew that marble could bend? In 2015, we worked with Booms Stone in Redford to replace the marble near the front entry because it was sagging under its own weight. At the same time, we replaced the poster cases so they could be properly caulked and sealed along with the entire facade to prevent water damage. While we were focused on preventing water damage, we also worked with Daniels Glass in Detroit to replace the rear entry doors and second floor windows.

2014 Project - Restroom Updates

In 2014, we made some much-needed updates to the restrooms. They were last renovated in the late 1960s in a style consistent with that period. With this renovation, we also took the opportunity to return to a style more consistent with the 1940s. Everything was replaced (floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures, lights, and divider walls).

2013 Project - Air Conditioning

In 2013, Friends of the Penn made significant improvements to the heating and cooling system in the auditorium. Since 1941, the Penn has been cooled by a well-water-based system. The system has been very reliable, but our movie attendance has been so good that it can no longer keep up with the crowds. The new cooling system is a hybrid of old and new technology. We kept the original well-water-based system (because it is very energy efficient) and added a refrigerant-based system to provide supplementary cooling when needed. At the same time, we replaced much of the original ductwork to eliminate leaks and improve efficiency.

2012 Project - Digital Projection

In 2012, the Penn made the conversion to digital projection (like the rest of the motion picture industry.) We still have our original 35mm projectors for classic films, but our normal weekend movies are now shown exclusively in digital format.

2011 Project - Auditorium

The auditorium renovation has been our most ambitious project to-date. The Penn was closed for three weeks while crews worked around the clock to transform the auditorium with new seating, flooring, carpet, drapery, movie screen, paint, surround speakers, aisle lights, and staging. The pictures below illustrate the dramatic change.

We celebrated our re-opening by inviting the auditorium donors to a special showing of "Mr. Blandings Builds his Dreamhouse" starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.

2010 Project - Entry Doors and Murals

Our 2010 renovation projects are complete. On your next visit to the Penn, you'll notice the new front doors. In addition to being reminiscent of the originals, they're more energy efficient and actually open and close properly. The work was completed by Daniels Glass of Detroit.

Also this year, the murals on the side of the building went through an incredible transformation. They were brought back to life through the amazing talents of Plymouth artist Janisse Larsson.

2009 Project - Marquee

Penn Theatre 2009 The Friends of the Penn thank you for supporting our 2009 renovation project, the marquee replacement. This project took almost 14 months from start to finish which included contractor selection, design, Historic Distric Commission approval, structural steel repairs, electrical upgrades, and finally the marquee removal and replacement. The work was completed by the Wagner Electric Sign Company on June 18 and we had a "Grand Re-Lighting" event on June 25.

Completed Projects

Special thanks to all of the donors who, through their generosity, have made the following projects possible:

New Boiler (December, 2006)
Stage Lighting (August, 2007)
New Electrical Service (August, 2007)
New Concession Area & Popcorn Kitchen (December, 2007)
New Air Handler (February, 2008)
Roofing Replacement (September, 2008)
Exterior Painting (October, 2008)
New Marquee (June, 2009)
DTS - Digital Theatre Sound Upgrade (July, 2009)
Mural Transformation (September, 2010)
Front Entry Doors (October, 2010)
Complete Auditorium Renovation (July, 2011)
Digital Cinema Conversion (August, 2012)
Auditorium Air Conditioning Updates (July, 2013)
Restroom Renovation (June, 2014)
Marble Facade Repair and Caulking (September, 2015)
Rear Door and 2nd Floor Window Replacement (October, 2015)
Chimney Replacement (August, 2016)
New Security System (October, 2016)
Kitchen Ventilation (June, 2017)
Concrete Walkway Replacement (August, 2017)
Office and Staff Restroom Renovation (December, 2017)
Marquee Neon Repair and Upgrade (December, 2017)
New Lobby and Second Floor HVAC (October, 2018)