An old movie theatre building with a long history is being turned into a climbing gym.

It opened in 1937, but Halifax's Oxford hasn't shown a movie for a year and a half.

Its walls won't be coming down to make room for a new building, but will will play a role as the Oxford climbs into the future.

“I couldn't have dreamed of a better space for this project,” said Jackie Turner, who is the owner of UpEast. “It's really awesome to keep this building in the community.”

Turner says contractors will re-design the walls and level the sloped floor.

“It has so much character, so many stories, so many memories,” Turner said. “If these walls could speak it would be amazing."

She promises to keep the theatre's historic features.

“We'd like to preserve as much as we can in the main concession area,” Turner said. The projector room will get a make-over but it's staying. So is the neon sign in the lobby and the marquee outside.

Halifax Regional Coun. Shawn Cleary welcomes the move.

“It's great when we get to keep some of those historic landmarks and they get re-purposed for a new life,” Cleary said.

Turner says renovations are scheduled to begin soon.

The climbing gym is scheduled to open in the fall. Turner says it will offer top rope climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering for all ages and skills levels.

Climb Nova Scotia is excited to welcome UpEast to Halifax. “We think Jackie’s commitment to creating an inclusive community atmosphere that caters to a diverse range of climbing styles ... will be welcomed by Halifax with open arms,” says president Matt MacPhee. “It’s going to be a fantastic compliment to the Halifax climbing scene and can only help take the sport even higher.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Paul Hollingsworth.