A winning combination of building partners helped bring a state-of-the-art, eight-screen movie theater to the quaint coastal town of Elizabeth City, N.C.

The $10 million, 31,820-square-foot movie complex, R/C Albemarle Movies 8, premieres first-run films on 50-foot screens in a family-friendly setting for the area’s movie-going public. Laser projection and digital sound combined with luxury, reclining lounge chairs make for a truly exceptional movie watching experience.

Making this vision a reality was no small feat for Ceco Building Systems builder Revelle Builders of NC. With specific design and performance requirements, the complex project was neither a traditional architect spec job nor a traditional design-build job. While the general contractor oversaw construction of the custom-engineered metal-framed structure, Revelle Builders enlisted the Philadelphia-based architectural firm JKRP Partners and the experts at Ceco to help develop, design, and engineer the project.

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was structurally supporting a multidirectional, second-floor mezzanine that served as the projector epicenter. As project manager Harrison Revelle explains, “Due to the orientation of the theater screens and required seating arrangements in relation to the projector mezzanine, we ended up having to literally suspend portions of the equipment platform from the rafters to allow for a clear and accessible area underneath for seating patrons.”

Mark Jones, vice president of Revelle Builders, shared that although the project didn’t necessarily begin as a design-build, the builder worked together with the architectural firm as part of the design team. “As a Ceco builder, we were able to take the architect's detailed floor plan and make it fit with a metal building, accommodating the project’s intricacies in the most cost-effective way,” he says.

To fulfill the architect’s aesthetic vision with consideration of the local energy code requirements, Revelle recommended using insulated architectural metal wall panels from Ceco. The unique combination of energy efficiency provided by the insulated wall panels’ superior R-values and the versatile design options of various colors, orientations, and depths led to the selection of insulated metal wall panels.

The team used a total of 24,367 square feet of the CF Architectural, Light Mesa, Santa Fe, and Striated insulated metal panels in a mix of Terracotta, Colonial Red, Almond, Zinc Grey, Medium Bronze, and Copper Metallic.

“It is very unusual to have all those different types and colors, which added to the desired aesthetic appeal,” Jones says. “On three of the walls were a combination of horizontal panels instead of vertical, along with a couple of areas that stepped out on a separate plane to create an architectural band.”

Aside from the custom-engineered metal frame, Ceco provided the PBR single skin metal wall panels in Galvalume Plus that were used on the back of the parapet wall on the roof. As for the roof, the team chose a standing seam metal roof system of Double-Lok in Galvalume Plus and the Silvercote R-32 Purlin Glide roof insulation system to further improve energy efficiency.

COVID-19 delayed the planned full opening of the theater, which was completed in July 2020. But as of this May, it was open for business seven days a week, bringing multiplex movie magic to area residents—young and old. Now that’s entertainment.