Fire-damaged Kentucky Center expected to reopen by Sept. 1
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There's good news to report for the Kentucky Center for the Arts after a fire tore through the venue in mid-June.
Kentucky Finance & Administration Secretary Bill Landrum said Thursday afternoon that crews have been working two 10-hour shifts a day to complete repairs after June's fire. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Landrum said the Kentucky Center could reopen by Sept. 1.
Landrum also said the Whitney Theater is ready for shows. He said the staff is back and all systems are operating.
Deputy Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage Regina Stivers said: “We are ready for the curtain to rise.”
However, there is still a lot of work to do.
The biggest task crews face as they finish renovations is removing the plaster from the ceiling so engineers can run tests to make sure there are no structural problems.
"Metal doesn’t like heat, so if it’s deformed itself in some way, we’ll need to verify that," said Chief Engineer Andy Casebier.
Casebier said that is the biggest unknown that could potentially delay reopening.
"We visually looked at it already, and don’t think we have a problem, but we’re going to be sure," he said.
The Louisville Orchestra, the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Opera all have performances going on sale on Aug. 1. PNC Broadway in Louisville’s production of Disney’s “Aladdin” is already on sale, and tickets for “A Christmas Story,” go on sale Aug. 3.
"I feel a whole lot better than I did when the fire first happened," said Kentucky Center President and CEO Kim Baker. "I feel very optimistic."
The Louisville Ballet is the first scheduled performance after the Kentucky Center reopens. But when patrons arrive, they will have to dance around some imperfections.
Scaffolding will still be up, and there will be no carpeting. Despite those imperfections, the show must go on, and Sept. 1 remains the target date.
"The lobby is not going to be pretty," said Casebier. "But all the theaters, everywhere else where the patrons go, all the restrooms will be put back together, and going to be just like they were before."
After the fire, the venue had to reschedule several performances, but was forced to cancel the PNC Broadway production of "Waitress."
"The building was basically dead," Casebier said. "We’ve had to resurrect it one element at a time."
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- Kentucky Center still at least a month from re-opening
- Kentucky Center employees return to the building Monday
- Louisville Orchestra reschedules July 'Harry Potter' performances at Kentucky Center
- Fire damage forces Kentucky Center to cancel production of 'Waitress'
- Kentucky Center to remain closed June 17 and 18 due to fire
- IMAGES: Kentucky Center offers first look inside at fire damage
- IMAGES | Fire damages Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
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