The gift will fund renovations of the theater's auditorium, including the installation of high-end projection and sound equipment as well as recliners for the audience. Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken has pledged $1.5 million from the city for structural and exterior work on the historic building.
Opened in 1926 as a vaudeville and movie house, the theatre closed in 1991 and ownership of the building was transferred in 2005 to the nonprofit State Theatre Company. While the commitments from Sanford and the city will enable the organization to finish renovating the main floor and reopen the movie theater, it will need to raise funds for the restoration of the second and third floors, said executive director Allison Weiland.
"Denny Sanford understands the huge economic and quality-of-life impact that a restored and operating State Theatre will have in Sioux Falls," said State Theatre Company president John Swedeen. "He's laying the foundation for reopening a facility that will significantly enhance the downtown experience for generations to come."