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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

New movie theater opens close to Northfield

<r movie fans at Carleton and in the greater Northfield area, a night out at the theater just became more accessible, thanks to the opening of a new ten-screen theater in Dundas, just beyond Northfield city limits. Each screen at the Cannon Valley Cinema 10 features 7.1 surround sound and laser projectors, an experience complemented by leather recliner chairs.

The theater opened for Thanksgiving weekend and since then has been very positively received by the community, according to owner Chris Brown, who purchased the property with his wife, Amber. “The community has been fabulous,” commented Brown, noting that many are “still finding out there’s a movie theater here.”

While it is still a relatively new installment in the community, several Carleton students have already profited from the new enterprise. Anne Hamilton ’18, who caught a showing of Wonder in December, praised the facility for providing “really comfy reclining chairs” and affordable concessions. The cheap prices were also appreciated by Amanda Klein ’18, who discovered the perks of the Tuesday $5 movie deal when she saw Jumanji earlier this month.

The theater also fills a significant gap in the Northfield community, which has been without one since the closing of the Southgate Cinema in 2008.

Making movies affordable is a priority for Brown, who aims to provide patrons with an equivalent experience to metro-area theaters despite not having the overhead of a large corporation.

Although the cheap prices and state-of-the-art screens are likely to be attractive to Carleton students, transportation is likely to pose a problem to most students. The Carleton-St. Olaf shuttle bus route extends only to Target, which is still a half-mile walk away—a distance that may be prohibitive for some, especially during colder weather.

In anticipation of student demand to attend the new theater, Carleton Campus Services are working with St. Olaf and the transportation company, Hiawathaland Transit, to modify the shuttle route. But according to Judson Ulvestad, director of Campus Services, it’s not as simple as one may think.

Local public transit systems—including the Carleton-St. Olaf route, which requires the general public to purchase tickets—receive federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

Due to their regulations, any proposed changes must undergo a 2-3 month process involving review by the Department of Transportation and a 30-day notice period to the public. If approved, all publications and signage would need to be updated, further extending the process.

Typically, the shuttle route is reviewed and modified each summer, so it would be unusual to start this process at the half-year mark.
But the lengthy timeline involved is only one reason why Ulvestad senses that Hiawathaland Transit may be resistant to premature change.

 “To add to the issue,” commented Ulvestad, “Hiawathaland Transit is considering moving the transfer location from Northfield City Offices to the Northfield Depot this summer, which would mean the Red, Blue, and Express routes would all be changed.”

Because there are already plans in motion to adjust the route, it may not be practical or feasible to make adjustments at such a short notice.

Until a concrete timeline from the transportation company is established, the best way for students without a personal vehicle to access the theater is either walking from Target or taking a First Choice Shuttle, which costs $6 one-way, per-person within Northfield/Dundas city limits.

For students seeking more variety than provided by the weekly SAO movies, the extra effort may well be worth it. “I would definitely go again,” said Hamilton. “I think it is long overdue for Northfield to have a movie theater and I hope it can do well.”

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