Brighter future for Community Center Theater’s giant chandelier

A giant light fixture that long has graced Sacramento’s Community Center Theater now has a brighter future ahead of it, thanks to the work of Councilmember Steve Hansen, City staff and Otto Construction.

For more than 40 years, the fixture — measuring 50 feet long and 20 feet wide — has welcomed patrons to the theater, which currently is undergoing an expansion and renovation. Its new home likely will be in another City facility, city staff said. The chandelier is being stored at the City’s North Area Corp Yard.

“Once again, the Sacramento community came together to celebrate the city’s past, present and future,” Hansen said. “We think this outcome will please fans of the Community Center Theater and of mid-century modern design.”

Raw video of the light fixture being removed from the Community Center Theater. June 6, 2019

The Community Center Theater temporarily closed last week as part of the ongoing C3 Project, which also includes the expansion and renovation of the Sacramento Convention Center and the Memorial Auditorium.

For months before the closure, the City and Hansen had been looking for a new home for the unique light fixture. While not technically a historic item, the fixture certainly was a well-known and beloved feature of the theater.

The chandelier had to be removed by June 7 so contractors could stay on their construction timelines. The City had explored several options for the fixture, including donating it, but couldn’t find any takers due to the size of the piece and the limited opportunities for placing it in public buildings.

Moving costs also were an issue, with estimates to remove, pack and transport the modern-looking fixture coming in at more than $30,000.

For a brief time, it looked as if the fixture’s days were numbered. However, Otto Construction, which is doing the work on the new Powerhouse Science Center, offered to remove and package the fixture for free.

Crews from Otto and its subcontractor, Garrahan Electric, brought two elevated lifts to the Community Center Theater on June 6 to disassemble the fixture. With its more than 300 lights and distinctive modern design, the fixture ultimately will be refurbished and made more energy efficient, city officials said.

“The piece means something to the City and to our community,” said Allison Otto, Executive Vice President of Otto Construction. “We were proud to partner with the City and Garrahan Electric to save this recognizable feature that welcomed theater guests for over 40 years.”

“This light fixture was a fundamental part of the Community Center Theater experience,” said Ofelia Avalos, senior engineer for the City of Sacramento and manager of the C3 Project. “We are excited that it will continue to be a part of the Sacramento story for generations to come.”

Both the Community Center Theater and the Sacramento Convention Center, which will close in July, are scheduled to re-open in Fall 2020. During this time, all shows scheduled at the Community Center Theater will be relocated to the Memorial Auditorium, which has completed its construction.


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