Thomas Jefferson Theater to Close Due to Earthquake Damage

by ARLnow.com September 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm 8,775 12 Comments

Arlington Public Schools announced today that the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 Old Glebe Road) will be closed for the next 4-5 months due to earthquake damage.

The stage area of the theater was damaged during the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the D.C. area on Aug. 23, school officials say. The theater is expected to remain closed to all school and cultural events until Feb. 2012, while the damage is repaired

Numerous plays and other cultural events will be disrupted as a result of the closure. Among the scheduled events at the theater this fall are The Arlington Players production of Nine and the Encore Stage production of Robinhood.

“We sincerely regret the impact that this situation is having on the school and community including the Arlington County Cultural Resources programs, but the safety and well-being of everyone in our schools and community are our first priority,” Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations Clarence Stukes said in a statement.

See the rest of the school system’s press release, after the jump.

Today, Arlington Public Schools officials announced that, because of damage to the theatre and stage area in the Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Community Center which occurred as a result of the earthquake on Aug. 23, the Jefferson theatre and stage will be closed for school and community use until the damage can be repaired. The decision to close the theatre is effective immediately. School officials estimate that it will require approximately 4-5 months to complete the work.
Immediately following the earthquake last month, school officials contracted with a structural engineering firm to review the damage. Since then, APS Design and Construction staff and the structural engineering firm have conducted a systematic assessment of earthquake damage to school facilities.

Except for the damage to the stage area of the Jefferson theatre, damage at other APS facilities was minor and posed no safety or structural concerns that would prevent the use of the facilities by students or members of the community.

Details of the Jefferson work:

  • Damage to the stage area includes a shift of the masonry bearing walls and supports for the fly gallery and gridiron.
  • The stage safety curtain will remain closed until the supports for the curtain have been repaired.
  • The entire stage area behind the curtain cannot be used until all earthquake damage has been repaired.
  • The auditorium will remain closed so that construction can be completed.
  • On Mon, Sept. 19, the structural engineering firm will begin the detailed analysis and documentation needed by a construction contractor to complete the repairs. The documentation process will take approximately one month to complete.
  • APS officials expect that a contractor will be able to commence work within one month of completion of the documentation and that the work will take at least two months to complete.
  • Based on the projected timeline, it is expected that the stage could be available for use at some point after February 1, 2012.

  • Civic Activist

    APS should be very embarassed that it took so long to make the determination of damage. How many more facilities are still being reviewed?

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    has the facility been closed since the earthquake and it is just becoming public knowledge?
    so either shame on APS for trying to keep a secret or shame on APS for not having determined this earlier.

    honestly, where is the THINK OF THE CHILDREN when we need it?

    • TJTechVolunteer

      The damage was found as part of inspections that have been ongoing since the earthquake. It mostly affects the area above the stage that holds the curtains and lights, and the 2/3 of the stage that’s behind the curtain. That area hasn’t had much use yet, and kids aren’t back there very often.

      Luckily this was discovered before the _Nine_ tech crew started hanging their lights! But it must suck to have to re-design and re-block that show for a different stage on a few weeks notice.

    • rolleyes

      It just keeps getting funnier!

  • brian

    and the earthquake was only 4.0 by the time it got to arlington.

    • BoredHouseWife

      only? this isn’t San Fransisco where most buildings move with the quake.

    • JoshS

      Source? Because earthquakes aren’t measured that way.

  • Narlington

    why is the school not closed for damage its the same building?

    • TJTechVolunteer

      Because the building’s outer structure isn’t damaged, only the inner structure that holds the equipment above the stage.

  • ArlRat

    Wow, so as we all watched the band play at the instrumental music night, we could have also been witness to a serious accident. Geeze.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    So – is the jacking underneath the Home Depot garage due to the earthquake?

  • Home Depot Shopper

    I was at the store yesterday and asked whether the Home Depot damage was from the earthquake and they told me it was. I’m convinced there is much more damage in our area than people think.


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