Old Centrum, built mostly of timber and unreinforced masonry, includes three different parts: Cook Theater, Cook Hall and the 1922 Addition. These were the three primary areas of the site targeted for the $10 million restoration. Cook Theater was previously used as the sanctuary for the United Methodist Church. It holds over 500 seats as well as a 1,700 square foot balcony with nearly 200 more seats. The roof structure of Cook Theater consists of a long-span timber truss system that supports a 25 foot tall cupola, a suspended wood framed ceiling that was formed to resemble a dome, and a 1,000 lb. chandelier. Cook Hall is a 16,000 square foot historic wood-paneled hall with a wooden stage and a roof structure similar to the one in Cook Theater. The 1922 Addition was built of wood, steel, and masonry. The main level was originally used for office space and the basement contained a basketball court. The 1922 Addition continues to house offices after remediation.
This restoration presented many engineering challenges. One example was the main support beam for the Cook Theater balcony. This staggered multiple ply, multiple span, continuous wood beam that was bent into a horseshoe shape, was evaluated and found to require reinforcement. Structural steel reinforcement was designed that addressed not only stabilization and repair, but also preserved the historic craftsmanship and ceiling height. Alternate reinforcement options were incorporated to minimize cost and labor.
The renovated building has been renamed the Indiana Landmarks Center and will soon become the new headquarters for Indiana Landmarks. Cook Theater, the restored 700 seat theater in the former sanctuary, and the spacious Cook Hall will be used as venues for concerts, cultural performances, and weddings.