“Wow” and “oh, my gosh” were heard several times when people first entered the just-finished remodeled New Ute Events Center in downtown Rifle on Thursday, May 1.

The much-anticipated facility was unveiled to members of the New Ute Theatre Society, or NUTS, the local nonprofit group that has helped the City of Rifle acquire and remodel the former 1940s-era movie theater over the last few years. The group held its annual meeting in the building, formerly the Rifle Creek Theater, which was closed in August 2012.

NUTS President Helen Rogers said the remodeling project, which included $135,000 worth of exterior work in 2011, an $85,000 grant to remove asbestos, a $600,000 grant from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District, along with city and other funds, will likely come in under budget. The contractor, PNCI of Grand Junction, was awarded the project on a bid of $1.7 million and the total cost to date was $1.6 million, she said.

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