The Plaza Theatre in Durant could see a second life

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 4:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DURANT, Oklahoma (KXII) -The Plaza Theatre in downtown Durant may get a new life as non-profit Imagine Durant has plans to open the theater doors to the public once again.

The space is currently occupied by the DA’s office, but will soon move across the street into the federal building.

“We’re very thankful that we have a group like Imagine Durant, that thinks outside the box, that thinks about opportunities that we can have to not only improve Durant but to improve Bryan County,” says Dr. Thomas Newsom, President of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

As Southeastern Oklahoma State University has an active theater presence in the community, having a second home will benefit their drama program.

“Where we can share the talent of our students and our faculty with the folks that come to downtown, to historic downtown Durant, would just be an amazing thing,” adds Dr. Newsom.

And Imagine Durant hopes the renovations of the plaza will bring more people into town.

“We want to have something like this that can be economic development catalyst for our downtown that can be a support system to our restaurants, and to our business owners, and our shops,” says Executive Director of Imagine Durant, Kara Byrd.

Bryan County Commissioner of District 1, Ron Boyer is advocating to preserve the Plaza Theatre’s 1936 charm.

“I’ve seen some of the existing artwork still on the walls so we can still maintain some of that, the ceilings still have some of the original tiles,” adds Boyer.

As far as a timeline, the federal building will take around 18 months to renovate before the DA’s office can move into their new home.

“So we got plenty of time to put a business plan into place,” says Boyer

Byrd adds, “we’re hoping to see some announcements towards the end of summer.”

While Imagine Durant has the county’s, college’s, and communities approval, steps won’t be taken until the state approves tourism funds for renovations.

Copyright 2022 KXII. All rights reserved.