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Irwin's Lamp Theatre work begins June 1

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Irwin officials plan to begin working on the Lamp Theatre on June 1, with the hope of opening it by the summer of 2014.

Last week, officials revealed plans to begin working on the theater's façade June 1, the same day the borough council plans to finalize purchasing the building from the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

Public-works director Jim Halfhill said he plans to rebuild the exterior of the theater with stucco, a plaster-like material made of an aggregate, binder and water.

Halfhill said he built the borough's announcement sign, on Pennsylvania Avenue, near Irwin Park, out of stucco. The material can be used to mimic just about any type of finish, including brick, he said.

“We can make it look like brick,” Halfhill said. “Stucco is very maintenance-free but can be modified to have just about any type of look.

“I just need to do some drawings and present them to council.”

Officials plan to use $15,000 in grant funding from the state, which the Westmoreland Cultural Trust obtained several years ago, to rebuild the façade, Halfhill said.

He said borough officials plan to use the grant money to purchase the stucco from Crafton-based Exterior Products of Pittsburgh, which offered a 50 percent discount, windows and doors.

The public-works department will rebuild the façade, instead of hiring contractors, Halfhill said.

Council plans to incorporate a clock tower into the design, similar to the McWilliams Building along Main Street, along with a genie's lamp, President John Cassandro said.

“It'll help us create a little skyline along Main Street,” Cassandro said.

Over the next several weeks, council plans to decide on the Lamp Theatre's color scheme, Cassandro said.

Council expects to begin planning on establishing a board of directors and working on an agreement with a theater-based organization to help run the Lamp once it opens, Cassandro said.

“We need to start considering booking acts in the fall,” Cassandro said. “That's only six months away, and while we can put it on the back burner for now, we can't leave it there very long.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or

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