Crandell Theatre Gets Major Upgrade to Heating and Ventilation System

Crandell Theatre patrons will be pleased to hear that plans for a new heating and air conditioning system in the theatre are underway. As part of its ongoing improvement of the Crandell, the Chatham Film Club is embarking on one of its most critical projects: replacing the heating and ventilation system in the main auditorium as well as the ceiling. The project will greatly increase the comfort level in the theatre by providing more consistent heat and air conditioning during screenings.

To accomplish Phase 1 of the project, the Crandell will close from March 16 to April 6. This phase includes removing the existing insulation; installing closed cell spray foam insulation; installing new interior heat pumps and diffusers; and replacing the current aging air conditioning system. Currently, the heat or air conditioning must be shut off during the playing of films because the blowers are too loud. The new system will be quiet and much more efficient.

The existing ceiling in the auditorium will also be removed and then replaced. Great care will be taken to preserve the look of the historic architectural style and color of the interior using a combination of sheetrock and plaster for a new ceiling.

Phase 2 will take place later in the year and will involve the installation of two new roof-top compressors that can provide 25 tons of cooling to the main auditorium and a panel radiator system inside the theatre as a secondary heating system.

Aaron Gaylord from AG Carpentry is the contractor for the project.

“This is a huge undertaking,” says Fred Ulrich, President of the Chatham Film Club. “The heating and cooling systems in the auditorium are very old, inefficient, and close to failing. We must replace them now to avoid a major breakdown and to ensure the comfort of our patrons during screenings. We are able to accomplish this project with the generous support of our donors, members, and patrons. We are still actively raising funds for Phase 2 of the project, which is estimated to cost $50,000 to complete.” Donations can be made at

The Chatham Film Club, a 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit organization, owns and operates the historic Crandell Theatre on Chatham’s Main Street and produces the popular FilmColumbia Festival each October. For information on the Chatham Film Club, or to see what’s showing, visit