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After Fire, Kentucky Center Set To Reopen Sept. 1

Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

On June 13, the ceiling inside the main lobby of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts caught fire. The building was in the midst of repairs when crews noticed smoke; the fire took several hours to contain and resulted in “considerable damage,” according to a statement from the Center at the time.

William Landrum, secretary of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, on Thursday announced the Center’s hopeful reopening date.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we are extremely confident the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts will be open and ready for production effective Sept. 1,” Landrum said during a news conference.

According to Landrum, construction and repair crews have already made steady progress.

“The Whitney Theater, today, is ready for shows,” Landrum said. “The KCA staff are now back in their offices. Major building systems are operating. All duct work, draperies, seating and art services have been cleaned, and the elevators are working.”

Additionally, final drawings that show emergency exit paths and calculations on maximum occupancy have been approved by state and Louisville fire marshals.

“Removal of the plaster on the barrel ceiling in the main lobby began this past Monday,” Landrum said. “It is estimated to take approximately two weeks. Crews are working 10-hour days, two shifts, to make the deadline.”

Plaster removal, he said, is critical because it will allow structural engineers to conduct a three-dimensional scan of the main supports to the roof’s superstructure.

According to Kim Baker, the president of the Center, the building’s resident art companies — the Louisville Ballet, the Louisville Orchestra and the Kentucky Opera — will all begin ticket sales in August for upcoming performances.

The building itself was constructed in 1983 after the Kentucky General Assembly established a major public/private partnership for the Kentucky Center’s creation.

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