HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A million more dollars are being added to help complete renovations on a beloved and historical Huntington landmark.

President and First Lady of Marshall University, Brad and Alys Smith joined Senator Bob Plymale Monday afternoon to announce their contribution of $1 million towards the ongoing renovations of the 96-year-old Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Bob Plymale

Plymale, also President of the Board of Directors for the Keith-Albee, told 580 WCHS that the couple’s contribution brings them even closer to completing the three-phase, around $30 million renovation project.

He said it’s the largest gift from individuals they have received for the project after they started soliciting donors to help fund it.

“We are just very pleased that they thought enough of the Keith-Albee and were generous enough to make this kind of gift, we can’t thank them enough,” Plymale said.

He said these are the first major renovations done to the theater since it was established as a 5013C in 2006, adding that not many more renovations were done to the building even prior to that when it opened for the first time on May 7, 1928.

Plymale said the Smith’s contribution will help bring a major chunk of the architectural engineering and renovation project to fruition after shutting down the theater in December of last year to complete the work.

He said it mainly goes towards a complete paint job within the building.

“We have completed the scaffolding for the main auditorium for the painting, this is historic painting back to the way it looked when it first started,” he said.

Plymale said they have been compiling historic tax credits to be used as funding for the project from all of the donors who have contributed so far.

He said previously, the board of directors received funding from the state, the Appalachian Regional Commission of $1.5 million, and $250,000 from U.S Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito’s offices.

Plymale said they have already completed phase 1 of the historic tax credits and are in the process of completing phase 2. He said these tax credits are a main source of funding that gets the job done.

“You have to qualify for them, and because we’re in a historic district, the Keith-Albee qualifies for that, therefore, of this $30 million, roughly 30 to 35 percent will be able to be utilized with historic tax credits,” he said.

Plymale said the building has always been used as a way to experience and celebrate performing arts in the City of Huntington, with it first being used for movies and Vaudville entertainment.

He said it was a dream of its founders, the Hyman family, to provide the city with a “jewel,” as they called it, to embrace performing arts and carry it forward. Plymale said the significant gift the Smiths have bequeathed to the preservation of the Keith-Albee is a testament to that dream.

“With all of the things that are going on that Brad and Alys are a part of, in terms of transforming Huntington and Marshall University, the innovation district, all of these things add into this,” Plymale said. “You need to have entertainment in a quality of life, and this is one of the things the Keith-Albee does for the region.”

He said their contribution will go a long way with not only helping to complete phase 1 and phase 2, but possibly even phase 3 of construction.

Plymale said they plan to hold an increased number of musicals, Broadway shows, comedy acts among other favorite performances again once the renovations are officially complete sometime between May and August of next year.