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The Roxy gets air conditioning

 In its 70-year history, the Roxy never had a "real" air conditioner until 2001.

Before installing air conditioning, we relied on the building's original cooling system: The Arctic Nu-Air Blower, which was a fancy name for a swamp cooler. This consisted of a room-sized evaporator in the basement, forty water jets, and a squirrel-cage fan, five feet in diameter. The system could move 20,000 cubic feet of air every minute. It was the talk of the town in 1930, when modern refrigeration was unheard of, but it had its drawbacks. It was noisy; it raised the humidity in the building; and it had a regular habit of breaking down on the hottest day of the year.

By the 1990s, the system was worn out. Repair parts had to be fabricated or improvised. After one hot summer too many, we decided it was time to update the system. Now, we have the coolest theatre in the region -- in more ways than one!

It takes two units to cool the building, but only the rooftop installation is shown in these pictures. The second unit is behind the stage and on the back of the building. The system also included an elaborate network of new air ducts installed over a two-week period, all designed to cool the building efficiently, but quietly.

This picture not only shows installer Jackson Payer of Jackson's HVAC, but also shows the building formerly across the street from the theatre, which was torn down in 2002 to make room for the Palomino Mercantile.

The rooftop unit weighs over 1000 pounds. Our system was designed to be able to keep the theatre cool even if we have a full house, while running quietly enough not to disturb the sound of the movie.

The rooftop unit, now in place. Pieces of an old ventilating fan were removed as part of the project.