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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

It's Time For Something New - Pecatonica Theater Will Be Rebuilt

Jenna Dooley

The roof of a northern Illinois theater collapsed a few months ago after a snowstorm. But now the decision has been made to rebuild the entire structure.  

Volunteers at thePec Playhouse Theatre in Pecatonica have spent the last few months cleaning up in preparation for a replacement.  

Suzanne Wiegert, the president of the theater, said the plan was just to replace the roof, but engineers, construction experts and the insurance company didn’t recommend this. 

“And they said ‘it's just not up to code as it stands, and to try to rebuild that would cost more time and money than if we just rebuilt the entire building from scratch.’ So that was something that we didn't take lightly as a board.” 

Wiegert said experts explained that the existing walls couldn't hold a steel roof.

Credit Jenna Dooley

“So, then you have to talk about rebuilding the walls to support that,” she said. “And then ‘is the foundation good enough to support the walls and the roof?’ And they said, ‘no, we would need to have to dig that up just to make sure.’” 

Although the playhouse is under construction, the group will continue to entertain with the help of venues like the West Side Show Room in Rockford and the Main Street Players of Boone County in Belvidere.  

Donations for the project are being accepted. An informational session for the public will happen on June 16 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds. 

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.