Fox Theater opens
La Junta, Colo. - A part of La Junta’s history will return to life in the next few weeks. The Fox Theater in downtown La Junta will reopen its doors to the public on March 14. The theater is expected to show “Horton Hears a Who” on its opening day. Another movie will be shown in the second theater, however, a title has not yet been booked. The theater will be open seven days a week and show two different movies daily. Shows will be played at 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 7 p.m. and approximately 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance. To show off the theater’s new digs, an open house will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 8. Free hot dogs, drinks and popcorn will be served. The two-screen theater that sits 159 people in the larger theater and 96 in the smaller has undergone a complete transformation. Owners Joey and Cristina Johnson purchased the building on March 15, 2007 and began that day what would turn into a year-long remodel. “We signed the papers and then came here and took a sledgehammer to the bathrooms,” Joey Johnson said. After sitting vacant for a number of years, major renovation was required in the majority of the building. Due to a bat infestation, carpet and wall coverings, as well as the smell, had to be completely removed. And as the Johnsons started tearing down this and that, they soon began to see the diamond in the rough. The front lobby area received some minor repairs and new paint. New carpet was installed throughout the building. The Johnsons purchased the carpet from a manufacturer and Kelly’s Flooring of La Junta provided the installation for free. The concession stand features new equipment. Both the concession area and ticket booth have touch-screen registers. A handicap-accessible bathroom has been added on the main floor. The existing bathrooms on the upper level were remodeled and are now up-to-date and have a fresh new look. The railings on the stairways were powdercoated by Gus and Austin Baca with assistance from DeBourgh. Seats had been removed in the theater and as the Johnsons pulled up carpet, they found hardwood floors. The floors were completely refinished by local company Fresh Floors, owned by Tim Klob. New carpet was installed along the aisles, as well as LED lights to allow people to see where they are going, and new acoustic carpet was installed along the walls. The Johnsons purchased refurbished seats and installed cup holders. Joey Johnson said some seating was lost during the transformation as they decided to space out the seats to allow more leg room. And, the seats are larger than what was previously there. There is new masking around the screens. Nine and seven speakers will provide surround sound in the theater. Johnson will use a 35-milimeter projector to show the movies, but it has been retrofitted to read surround sound. “It has taken twice as much time and twice as much money (than originally planned),” Johnson said, “but as long as people support it … which I think they will … everything will be fine. “We are trying to keep a lot of the business going out of town here,” he added. To help keep costs down, Johnson hopes to utilize a number of volunteers to help run the ticket booth, concession stand and offer patrol of the theaters. His family is also dedicated to the business and all members — Cristina and children Kristy Jimenez, Levi, Isaac, Joel and Leah Johnson — will take turns in different areas of the theater. Anyone wanting to volunteer should stop by the theater and talk to Joey Johnson or call him at (719)469-3613.