Memorial Auditorium doors remain closed after ceiling issues
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Memorial Auditorium’s doors in Wichita Falls remain closed while city leaders address ceiling damage on stage.
The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra was informed last Wednesday by city staff that pieces of fire coating on the ceiling beams had begun falling on stage after last month’s first snowstorm, making it hazardous to use.
“It was is when they came back to work after that break because of Mother Nature that they found those pieces on stage. They weren’t very big, but again, falling from a high distance, anything picks up speed unless it’s a feather, it could potentially injure somebody and safety is the number one thing,” Chris Horgen, City of Wichita Falls public information officer, said.
Since Feb. 23, the doors of Memorial Auditorium have remained locked and no one has been allowed to go on stage until the fire coating is either fixed or replaced with city emergency funds.
“We had an architectural firm come out this last week and look at it. They’re looking at a couple of options. They’re going to bid those out and see what kind of prices we’re looking at, and then we’ll go from there. We should know something probably about next Tuesday or Wednesday,” Horgen said.
City officials, who also have offices inside the building, said its structurally secure, but the issues onstage were concerning enough to cancel the Wichita Falls Symphony’s Music in Pictures concert that was suppose to take place on last Saturday.
“We already have a lot invested in the concert. Cancelling at the last minute, there are a lot of expenses that we aren’t going to be able to recover, so we’re really hoping to reschedule so we can make good on all the contract that we have with musicians and guest artists,” Alicia Deges, executive director of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, said.
Deges said those who run the auditorium have been working with them and doing their best to make things right.
“We had to pay stage hands to set up our orchestra show and we had to pay them to take it down again. The city has offered to help in any way they can, but we haven’t discussed those details yet with them. It’s just one of those things that no one has control over, but we just have to make the best of what we’re giving and move forward,” Deges said.
The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra Music in Pictures concert has been rescheduled for Jun. 11. Horgen said the next event scheduled to take place on the Memorial Auditorium stage is in April.
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