Any work on the Lear Theater building should follow the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties. These guidelines offer strategies for preserving, rehabilitating, restoring, and reconstructing historic buildings. In the case of the Lear, either preservation or rehabilitation would be the most appropriate treatment methods. Of the two, rehabilitation offers more flexible solutions for adaptively reusing the building while maintaining its historical integrity.
The Rehabilitation Standards acknowledge the need to alter or add to a historic building to meet continuing or new uses, as well as meeting code requirements, while retaining the building's historic character. When applying for funding including State grants and Federal Historic Tax Credits, these standards must be followed.
There are ten standards, as follows:
- A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships.
- The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
- Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, will not be undertaken.
- Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.
- Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.
- Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
- Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.
- Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.
- New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
- New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.