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This item originally appeared in the Feb. 5, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Grounds are being cleared at the site of Ruston's future movie theater, developer Shane Morrison of Baton Rouge said.

The site is located adjacent to the Ruston Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 1201 N. Service Road.

Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth said the development of this project is an encouraging step for Ruston because it will help keep people in the city.

"I think it is a positive impact for the city," Hollingsworth said. "It will keep students here and also make [Ruston] a more livable and welcoming place for everyone to visit and have a good time."

Morrison said the project adds the needed entertainment industry and societal boom to the city.

"It's going to be a central focus, a center unlike any other in the community," Morrison said.

He also said construction has begun in Phase I of the project, which includes building the theater and clearing the 40-acre site where the theater will be located.

Hollingsworth said the theater helps to improve the relationship between the city and Tech. He also credited the university for its support for the movie project and other projects carried out in the Ruston area.

"We've worked hard with the university to establish a good rapport, and we know they are on our side," Hollingsworth said. "We've received a good response from the university, especially with the use of some of its resources, such as its architectural program for some of our projects."

Sara McDonald, a freshman general studies major, said the addition of the movie theater would boost the standards of the city. She also said it would make the city more socially active.

"I think it will help to bring more people here, and it will give Tech students and others something to do other than go to Monroe," McDonald said. "I think it is needed. We've got everything else. A movie theater would make it complete."

Morrison said the first phase of the project is expected to cost approximately $10 million to $13 million, depending on the surrounding restaurants involved in the process.

The costs of the restaurants are figured into the total cost for the movie theater.

He said financing will come mostly from Community Trust Bank and Shane Morrison Corporation, LLC.

Morrison said a contractor has not been chosen, but his company is considering between Lincoln Builders, based in Ruston, and Map Construction, located in Baton Rouge.

He also predicted the completion of the theater will be sometime prior to Christmas.

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