Photograph by Hannah Korn

LC theatre roof under renovation

The Fire Arc Theatre is currently undergoing major roof reconstruction. The roof replacement at Fir Acres is one of Lewis & Clark’s 2022 capital projects, which also include replacing the roofs of Stewart, Odell and Akin Halls and Stamm Dining Hall in Templeton Campus Center. 

Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Dance Program Head Susan Davis said that the roof has always been damaged. 

“It’s always had problems and I think it was at the point where it could have collapsed, basically, if enough water had accumulated in some areas,” Davis said.

Sylvia Jane Krueger ’22, who is a theatre major, echoed her statement. 

“There’s been a hole in the roof since I have been here,” Krueger said. “There have always been little leaks backstage.”  

According to Davis, the roof has been leaking for years and was deemed unsafe by the college. However, she noticed a major lack of communication between the professors and the construction being done on the roof. 

“No one knew,” Davis said. “We were not told that it was happening, right before classes started. We were not given any accommodation for alternate spaces. I mean … there was such a lack of communication between whoever organized (the construction) and the trickle down (from) people in charge.” 

Professor of Theatre and Department Head Štěpán Šimek also pointed out the major lack of communication between the college and the theater department. 

“As a Department, we’d have liked to have been informed about it a bit earlier – it sort of came as a surprise,” Šimek said via email.

Since the reconstruction began, both students and staff have had to adjust to new spaces to work in. 

“We basically just had to change spaces because of the noise,” Davis said.

Since the noise is particularly bad in the black box theatre, some of the classes have been moved to Smith Hall. Others are still being held in Fir Acres, which has created new challenges for students and staff. 

“So outside of the entrance, they have a bunch of wood and construction materials and trash cans set up that block the entire front of the theater,” Dylan Blanchard ’24 said. “So there’s only one door into the theater. One exit and one entrance, besides the emergency exits, that entire front space is blocked off because of the construction.”

Krueger mentioned that there are also tiles still missing from the classroom roof inside Fir Acres. Šimek also commented on the classroom disruptions caused by the construction on the roof. 

“We had some ‘interesting’ classes where lectures were accompanied by the rhythmic sound of electrical drills, saws and other instruments of aural torture,” Šimek said . “I once had to run out of the Black Box Theatre during an acting class to shoo the workers away, because they were hellishly loud.”

While the construction has caused changes in the building’s facilities and classes, students seem to be happy about the prospect of a roof that does not leak.

“I’m glad that we are getting a new roof,” Krueger said. “I feel like we deserve it.”

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