Basin PBS Ready to Start Renovations for New Home at Historic Ritz Theater

By Geena Martinez

NewsWest 9

The Ritz Theater in downtown Midland will finally be coming back to life. Basin PBS announced they are ready to restore the historic building so they can move in.

This means Sesame Street is coming to Main Street.

"We'll be able to use this facility from now on, it's perfectly fitted for us," Basin PBS Chair, Frank Deaderick, said.

After years of planning and fundraising, Basin PBS is one step closer to making the Ritz Theater their permanent home.

"We wanna be very visible in downtown Midland and this enables us to be right in the heart of the revitalization of this community," Deaderick said.

On Tuesday, the non-profit announced they're ready to start renovating the historic theater in the heart of the Tall City.

The project has been in the works for about four years and it was made possible thanks to multiple donors. The price tag was $2.7 million dollars.

"We've gotta completely gut this whole building," Deaderick said.

Deaderick said once finished, the Ritz will allow them to better serve the community.

"Presently we have our operations in three places, some of it is in Odessa, some of it is in Midland air terminal and some here in Midland so first and foremost it enables us to combine all of our operations into one facility," Deaderick said.

"We're gonna build it out for offices, production facilities for Basin PBS, there's gonna be a studio space for West Texas Public Radio," Deaderick said.

The space will be twice as big as what they have now, there's room for the community to get involved and it'll have a piece of old Midland.

"The facade is gonna be reconstructed to echo the look 1950's era look of the Ritz theater," Jim Rhotenberry, the architect of the project, said.

Renovations are expected to take about a year but Basin PBS said it will be well worth the wait.

"This community has been very, very generous to us and we don't take that lightly. We're honored by their generosity," Deaderick said.

Renovations will start in December and officials hope for it to be completed by early 2016.