Ohio University, Athena Theater

Athens, Ohio

  • FIRM

    Fanning Howey


    Ohio University

  • AREA

    14,000 sq.ft.





The historic Athena Theater was purchased by Ohio University in 1999. The university sought to preserve a venue for student entertainment, recognizing that the theater could provide a downtown activity for students.

A family-owned theater until 1966, it traded hands several times. The elegant art-deco theater was repeatedly remodeled, with a series of new marquees ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY533COST PER SQ FT$96.83FEATURED IN2002 Architectural Portfolio insensitive facade treatments that diminished the facility’s architectural heritage and integrity.

The theater seats about 600 in three screening areas. The facility will be used as a commercial film house, a venue for an International Film Festival, and as a lab for university film and art programs and lectures. The upper balcony provides an intimate setting for literary readings, small musical performances and community theater.

Highlights of the restoration:

- A new chrome marquee reminiscent of the theater’s original art deco marquee.

- New mechanical/electrical and life-safety systems.

- Provisions for accessibility.

- Removal of the facade veneer applied in the 1960s, and restoration of the original facade.

- New ticket booth, concession stand and restroom.

- New interior finishes and seating.

- New acoustical treatments.

- Digital sound and projection systems.

- A new elevator.