For 80 years the DeSoto Theater on Broad Street has been home to cinema and stage productions much to the delight of Romans.

But the old downtown theater has long needed restoration, and the first part of the facelift has been completed.

Restoration of the historic theater’s vestibule was finished this week thanks to a partnership with Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, says Jim Powell, vice president of publicity for Rome Little Theatre.

Click to see the previous report "Historic DeSoto gets a makeover" which includes a video and a timeline.

The ceiling of the entryway had significant water damage caused by years of a leaky roof, which was fixed a few years ago. Local artisan and plaster craftsman Charles Goulding restored the plaster relief work on the ceiling last year.

The restoration was one of the pilot projects undertaken by the Atlanta-based Fox Theatre Institute. The program aims to provide preservation aid and operations expertise to historic performing venues. The DeSoto was one of 15 selected for the first year.

Rome Little Theatre President Paul Griffin said the Fox Theatre’s help is making a huge difference for theater.

The Fox Theatre Institute and the local nonprofit theater group are celebrating the vestibule restoration and will host a private reception and viewing next Thursday.

“The DeSoto is a wonderful example of how a theater restoration plays an integral part in the success of their city’s overall Main Street approach,” said Adina Erwin, assistant general manager of the Fox Theatre