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WAYNESBORO >> A group of Waynesboro residents has formed a nonprofit corporation to take over the ownership and restoration of the Waynesboro Theatre.

The news on the next stage of life for the defunct theater came from a press release from High Rock Holdings, the Hagerstown, Md.-based company that would manage the day to day management of the theater.

High Rocks Holdings Chief Operating Officer Greg Mills, said he feels being involved in the renovation was an unique opportunity for the company.

"We have a community orientated mind-set and we felt we could bring the historic feel and bring a modern product," he said.

The group, Waynesboro Community Theatre Project Inc., is launching a capital campaign to cover the cost of buying the building and renovations. Construction is expected to begin in mid-summer.

The Waynesboro Theatre opened in 1970 as part of the Jerry Lewis Cinema chain.

Mills said patrons should expect to see an updated facility.

"It's going to be fully modern but it's still going to be designed inspired by the historical theatre," he said.

The 320-seat theater, which has been shuttered since December 2014, will require an extensive renovation. The project will bring new seats, a renovated lobby and concession area, new marquee, and a modern digital projection and sound system. With the installation of larger premium seats, the estimated

capacity will be approximately 200 patrons. The construction project is estimated to cost $450,000 to $500,000.

High Rock Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Leitersburg Cinemas, recently committed to take over the daily operations of the facility upon completion of the construction project. "High Rock plans to roll out a major marketing campaign simultaneous to installing state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment," according to the release.

High Rock's investment in equipment and setup is estimated to cost an additional $250,000.

The group hopes to complete the renovations this fall and open the theater by Oct. 1. A lease with High Rock will be signed after completion of the renovations.

High Rock announced in February that it was exploring the possibility of a major renovation project and leasing agreement for the theater.

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