Former Robinson Grand goes 3-D — sort of

Former Robinson Grand goes 3-D — sort of

ZDS Design/Consulting Services and WYK Associates, Inc. process the theater digitally

WYK Associates President James Swiger, left, and James Lowry, with ZDS Design/Consulting Services, finish taking a 3-D scan of the auditorium at the former Robinson Grand Theater. Staff photo by Jim Davis

As published in The Exponent Telegram June 5June 17th, 2014 by Jim Davis, Staff Writer

CLARKSBURG — ZDS Design/Consulting Services has been making 3-D images of the former theater this week. ZDS is a consultant for WYK Associates Inc., the local firm hired by the city to draw up proposed renovations to the Clarksburg landmark.

“Basically, we’re documenting the existing building with a 3-D scanner,” said James Swiger, president of WYK Associates. “It would be hard and very time-consuming to do this by hand. “It’s a very complex building, because it has many different levels, sloping floors, sloping ceilings and curved walls,” Swiger added. The architectural firm has drawings of the West Pike Street building, Swiger said. But some of the construction doesn’t match the drawings, either because the structure wasn’t built strictly according to plans or because it was modified over the years, he added.

Consultants were getting 3-D images of the auditorium Tuesday, said James Lowry, with ZDS. Once the images are linked together, the architectural team will be able to walk through the building, digitally speaking, Lowry said. Swiger said ZDS will make 3-D images of the building’s exterior, as well. “This is the initial step to the design process,” Swiger said. “Once we get this all documented, we’ll start the actual design.”

The city recently purchased the Robinson Grand for $430,000. Restoring the structure into a regional cultural center is one of the city’s goals for reviving the downtown. Earlier this month, Clarksburg City Council agreed to pay WYK Associates $126,115 to get the ball rolling in that regard. City Manager Martin Howe said there’s an advantage to having a local presence on the project. And WYK Associates hasn’t disappointed since being hired, Howe said. “Upon selecting the firm and council authorizing the administration to negotiate a contract with WYK, we made it clear that we wanted the project to move forward quickly, and he’s showing that his team can achieve that goal,” he said. Meanwhile, public works crews have been removing material from the theater the past few weeks, Howe said.

“There’s a lot of material that has no value and that needs to be properly discarded,” Howe said. “The architect is down there gathering the materials that should be discarded. “We have our public works crews that have been removing the items to be discarded when they get called or know a lot of material has been stockpiled,” he added.

The city is pursuing $4 million in financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $250,000 grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History to cover the costs of refurbishing the theater, Howe said.