The Kentucky Center for the Arts, which suffered a serious roof fire last week, but had hoped to reopen with the PNC Broadway Series show “Waitress” for a six-day run beginning June 26, will be shut down indefinitely, a state official said Tuesday.
At a news conference, William Landrum, secretary of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, said the state would conduct further assessment of damage and testing of safety systems throughout the building.
Kim Baker, president of the Kentucky Center, said the show had been canceled, and future shows are on hold, with safety the primary consideration. Baker said refunds to “Waitress” ticket holders would be made automatically.
Landrum began his remarks by letting everyone know he would be making decisions in all matters pertaining to the reopening of the Kentucky Center.
“Let me just say that the commonwealth of Kentucky owns the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts,” said Landrum, noting that all information and announcements about the Center would henceforth be coming from his office in Frankfort.
Landrum said the primary concern of his office was safety, noting that the main damage caused by the fire was from water from firefighting and interior sprinklers.
Besides the lobby, which received the bulk of the water deluge, Landrum noted that inspectors had found water intrusion in the inner and lower parts of the building.
“The dressing rooms, mechanical rooms, basement, offices, restrooms, HVAC systems and ductwork lines — all that has been drenched,” said Landrum, who added that inspectors and engineers would be looking especially for any compromise of fire protection systems, life-support systems and building security.
Landrum also said the roof, which is made of several layers of materials, and was exposed to the actual fire, must be thoroughly inspected and possibly rebuilt.
“One of the things we need to do, based on our first assessments, is remove the interior plaster in the barrel roof to expose what we don’t know,” he said. “I want to stress that we are still in the discovery stage. There are still many unknowns.”
The state official also spoke of the need to determine insurance benefits in the restoration of the Kentucky Center, which opened in 1983 and is the only large and completely appointed venue in Louisville for large theatrical and classical music performances.
The Kentucky Center also owns the smaller Brown Theatre, and other venues are possible for some programs.
But, as for now, the Kentucky Center is officially closed until further notice.