Board of Directors
Current Board Members
Vicki Jackson– President
Randy Paxson –Vice President
Solomon Valley Cinema Manager
History of the Solomon Valley Cinema
The cinema began when community people wanted to build a theater in Beloit. The Mitchell County Foundation was formed so contributors could make a tax free donation and a board of five was appointed to head up the cinema project; Wayne Ronnebaum, Carol Tolbert, Sharon File, Guy Steier and John Cashatt. Errol and Deloris Schafer became the Fund Drive chair people and played a major role in getting the much needed funding set in place.
Most of the work on theatre was done by donated labor. Dick Wise of Wise Construction Co., Cawker City, erected the building with Steve File and John Cashatt doing the framing and the Vocational Technical College students doing much of the electrical work. Overall there were close to 200 volunteers who helped build the building with many Beloit businesses and people pledging time, money and materials. The initial cost of the building was $203,000. This was in addition to all of the volunteer hours and materials donated.
There came a point when the board decided that even though the financial goal had not been met, they needed to get the theater finished and the doors opened. They took out a $70,000 loan and showed the first movie in November of 1995. Even though there was skepticism about the longevity of the theater, it was a great thrill to pay off the note and have a mortgage shredding ceremony on the theater's fifth anniversary.
The theater was initially run by area volunteers and the board members. Two people a night were scheduled to run the projectors and sell tickets and concessions. As revenue increased, Kelly Peters was hired as manager and high school students were employed. Today, the cinema employees three adults and three high school students, with board members still donating one shift a month to the cinema. Randy Paxson, a long time president of the cinema board, is our “Mr. Fix It”, performing all the maintenance and repairs on the projectors and the building.
Over the years, the cinema has made various improvements. The Mono-sound system was upgraded to Surround sound and then to the Digital Sound System that is in place today. A supply room and office have been added on to the building. Sidewalks were put around the building and the parking lot was redone. In 2008, new carpet, updated lighting, and a remodeled lobby were completed. In 2009, the cinema will have in place a new projection system which will allow films to be played digitally instead of from 35mm reels. This will dramatically improve the quality of the picture. It will also have the ability to show movies in 3D.
It's with great pride that through the years the cinema has contributed some of its excess revenue to the Mitchell County Foundation, which awards the money to other worthy causes needing funding. It's also a source of pride that there has been very little price increases. In fact, one time prices on some concessions were even lowered. Original ticket prices were $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. Today, after 15 years, an adult ticket is still only $5.00 and a child’s ticket is only $4.00. The cinema makes every effort possible to keep overhead and costs down so attending a movie can be affordable for everyone.