Texas State Technical College West Texas (TSTC) has collaborated with the Sweetwater Texas Theatre Acquisition and Renovation (STTAR) board of directors to install a digital sign along Broadway in front of the Texas Theatre, which should benefit both organizations.
The sign will benefit the theater and the entity that owns it, STTAR, by giving them another avenue to advertise showings and fundraisers held for theater improvements. It will benefit TSTC by providing students of a digital signage class real-world experience.
It all began with a grant TSTC received several years ago to start a digital signage technology program. The funds from that grant provided for the sign. Carly Kahl, director of internal communications and marketing for TSTC West Texas, said the students of this program will get an opportunity to work with an outdoor sign that is visible to an entire community.
Kahl is in charge of several digital signs on the TSTC West Texas campuses, but most are indoor signs. This sign is more visible as an outdoor sign and at such a busy intersection in the middle of Sweetwater. Kahl explained that an outdoor sign involves different software and design principals. “We are looking forward to displaying stuff for the theater, and are glad to have the visibility,” she added.
Kahl and her students also operate a digital sign at Sweetwater High School and the Mall of Abilene.
There are three phases of the digital signage class – design, content management and troubleshooting – all of which can be taught and practiced through the use of the sign at the Texas Theatre.
Kahl said they will also learn how to deal with the community in which they work in by producing advertisements and announcements that the community wants to see and which are pleasing to those purchasing the ads.
Cody Wilkinson, president of the STTAR board, said they are glad to have the sign at the Texas Theatre. “We are a non-profit organization and needed a way to post community events and help the theater,” he said.
Wilkinson described the partnership between STTAR and TSTC on the sign as a win-win situation and said he’s happy to know TSTC students will get exposure to the digital signage field by working with this sign. TSTC will manage the content and its design while STTAR will provide the electricity for the sign.
Monica Wagner, director of special projects for TSTC West Texas, said she was also pleased to see how the digital sign is beneficial to both entities, as well as to the community. Wagner was responsible for getting the sign installed and worked closely with the STTAR board as well as other entities and members of the community to get the sign up and running. She pointed out that the parking lot by the theater, where the sign stands, is actually owned by First Financial Bank, who was very cooperative in allowing this sign to be installed at that particular location.
Wilkinson said they also hope the sign will be a nice addition to the community, providing a highly visible place to advertise community events. STTAR will offer free listings for non-profits and community events, but will also raise a little money by selling advertisement space on the sign. Funds raised will mostly go to pay the bills of the Texas Theatre, according to Wilkinson. For more information on reserving space on the sign, call 325-864-3688.
The STTAR board hopes to finish improvements to the outside in the near future so they can begin making improvements to the inside. Wilkinson said now that they’ve gotten the marquee and neon all refurbished, they plan to raise the funds to inset the doors and bring the ticket booth to the outside like it was in the 1930s when it was first built. “We want to make it look as close to the original design as we can,” he said.
Wilkinson said improvements to the inside of the theater will be expensive, but they have been fortunate to have labor donated or discounted for re-designing the outside and hope to have the same for the inside. Indoor improvements would include a new sound system, seating, and a digital projector.
Texas Theatre shows currently released movies most weekends. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4.50 for children. Children under 3 are admitted free of charge. There is also concession available.