City officials say the historic Brunson Theater is set to reopen in August as a tourist information center/business incubator. 

Issues with floor, roof leaks resolved, city says

City officials recently provided an update on the Brunson Theater renovation, saying it should open for business in August. 

The long-awaited Brunson Visitor’s Information Center is close to being occupied, said Deputy City Manager Ron Bottoms. The city is turning the historic theater, which opened in 1949, into a visitor’s center/business incubator. It has experienced a few delays, but Bottoms said things are turning around for the Brunson and a ribbon cutting should happen in August. 

One cause for the delay involved problems with the original terrazzo flooring, which Bottoms said had to be taken out.

“It had pieces that were missing and had been filled in,” Bottoms said. “So, they replicated it on top of the old floor. It has the same colors, scheme and everything, but it had been there so long, they were unable to get it to shine like it used to. So, the decision was made to go ahead and replace it.”

Bottoms said he visited the Brunson this week to check out the new flooring.

“They were about to put the clear coat on the new terrazzo floor, and it really looks good,” Bottoms said. “They had all the rest of the flooring in place, too.”

Another issue was water was leaking into the theater. For years, the building had no roof, and rainwater collected inside before workers removed it all. 

“The leaks have been taken care of,” Bottoms said. “It was not so much the roof as it was water coming down from the bricks from the outside. The building is way old, bricks are missing, and water is getting into the walls and coming out. We did a treatment on it, and it has been dry even with the recent rains. There is a small leak behind the new sign, but doesn’t that affect anything else and we are rolling through it. We do not have issues with the water like we did before.”

Bottoms said workers are going through their punch list, and they are also moving furniture into the old theater. 

“The tourism folks have been chomping at the bit for a while (to get moved in),” Bottoms said. “There is some IT stuff that needs to be done once the building is turned over to us. That’ll be done this month with the idea of having the formal opening in August.”

Russell Hamman, who runs a popular Facebook site, “Hamman’s Baytown History...with a Twist,” has long been a proponent of resurrecting the Brunson. 

“I am excited about the news,” Hamman said. “When it opens in August, it will be 70 years to the month from when it opened in 1949. This will be a fine tribute.”

Hamman also thanked Councilman Chris Presley for his efforts in helping to reopen the old theater. 

“Once it is open for business, it will be a catalyst for more commerce in that area,” Hamman said. “It is a great thing for Baytown.”

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