Park Theatre renovation will not make its March 31 deadline for completion and the city administrator has advised the city to not enter into a contract with Citizens for Progress for its concert set for April 11.
According to city administrator Bill Brock, work will not be completed by the deadline.
“We’ve only got a few days left according to the contract,” said Brock. “The contractor will not be through March 31. He will be through, probably, within a week or so after that. He hasn’t asked for the final fire inspection yet. They are doing one weekly. Nothing major has jumped out. I will be meeting with the fire marshal on Friday and doing a walkthrough of the building to see if there is anything big we need to get out of the way.”
Brock says W&O Construction, the contractor over the project, is working Saturdays, late nights and has “tried to do everything possible to meet the timeline.”
When it comes to subcontractors, Discount Seating is beginning the process to install the theatre’s 391 seats, Cook Neon Signs is actively working on the marquee, and the curtain should be in the building in the coming days.
City employees will have to learn how to operate the building once it is complete, says Brock.
“There is going to be a learning curve for our staff on the building. It’s not a building that you can walk into and turn a light switch on and say ‘I’m here.’ I challenge you to find a light switch in the building. There are not any. Everything is electronically controlled. There is going to be a huge learning curve. That’s where the lighting, sound and video people come into play. The system has to be totally installed to teach you on it. You can’t teach it in a classroom and then expect city staff to go down there and use it. I would say it would take a couple weeks to be comfortable with the building. There is a lot to learn.”
Brock urged officials to not sign an agreement with Citizens for Progress for its highly publicized concert April 11.
“I know there is an April 11 event out there,” he said. “I know everyone is wishing, wanting and trying. I wouldn’t risk it. I think it would be a disaster to try to do that. I think the city could possibly fail to live up to the expectations that are needed. Let staff go through the training. Let them figure out where everything is and how to operate it. That’s just my suggestion. I don’t have a key to turn over to you and I won’t have one until the fire marshal signs off on it.”
Instead of holding an event, Mayor Jimmy Haley should get with Park Theater coordinator Sara Morgan to plan an open house, says Brock.
“The mayor should get with Sara and begin planning an open house,” he said. “Maybe in the last part of April or somewhere in that area. Hopefully, we can get in there and get comfortable with the building by then.”
City board members made no comments or decision regarding the signing of an agreement with Citizens for Progress.