The Roxy gets air conditioning
In its 70-year
history, the Roxy never had a "real" air conditioner
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.