ST. CLOUD -- It's hard to imagine the Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud looking any different than it does now, but it actually underwent a major renovation back in the 1990s.

Steve Paasch of GLT Architects worked on the project from the beginning until the end.

After a fire in the 1980s did major damage to much of the building the city wanted to tear it down. But, the city council gave a community group six months to come up with a plan to save it. Those initial meetings were in 1991 with GLT coming on board in 1992 and the project finally being completed in 1998.

Photo from GLT Architects

Paasch says it was a project that combined preservation, renovation, and a remodel.

What we wanted to do was keep the historic character of the building, but we wanted the new technology, for us it was important that you don't see a lot of the new technology.

Paasch says even though the building wasn't designated as historic at the time, they wanted to keep its character. There were no original plans available so they had to measure everything and took a lot of pictures.

Photo from GLT Architects

He says the decision to open the lobby into Germain Towers was a big task.

There are about 10 feet of separation between the Paramount Theatre and Germain Towers and we opened that all up, removed the masonry walls, and I kept questioning our designer if we really wanted to do that.

The total cost for the renovation was $5.4 million, which was estimated to be about $2 1/2 million cheaper than tearing it down and building a new theater.

Photo from GLT Architects
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Once a month in our series A Century In St. Cloud we feature the history of the Paramount Theatre during this 100th anniversary of the building.

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