Derry Opera House Repairs Begin, Will Return Balcony to Use

The Derry Opera House has been limping along without the use of its balcony for more than a year but with the construction, repairs, restoration and painting that will be taking place there this summer, it is expected to be back to fully operational status with its balcony in use come the fall.

Derry Director of Public Works Mike Fowler said two repair projects will be underway simultaneously at the Opera House, starting this week.

“We received $138,000 in supplemental funding for the project to do structural repairs inside and roofing replacement outside,” he said. “In September of 2013 we had to shut down the use of the balcony because we found the balcony supports were overstressed and unsafe. We needed to get a project design and bid the job out, and we now have the design and the contractor.”

On a 5-2 vote in March, the Town Council established the Adams Memorial Building Capital Reserve Fund; approved a FY 14 supplemental appropriation of $130,000 from the Public Works Capital Reserve Fund to the Adams Memorial Capital Reserve Fund; and made a $20,000 budget transfer from the current Public Works budget to the Adams Memorial Capital Reserve Fund.

Fowler said the contractor will be putting in new steel and timber for the balcony and replacing insulation and roofing. He anticipates that work will take about four weeks.

“When the work is done, the balcony will be safe to use again and that will be good news for the Opera House, as they’ve been losing revenue, not being able to use the balcony,” Fowler said

In addition, earlier this year, as previously reported by the Nutfield News, the Greater Derry Arts Council received a Moose Plate Grant of $20,000 for interior re-plastering and re-painting of the Opera House. Fowler said they have selected a contractor to do this work and are ready to start, but it made sense to do both projects during the same time frame. As a result, the two projects will take place simultaneously, he said.

All the work is expected to be completed early in September with the newly re-painted, re-plastered, re-roofed and re-strengthened balcony ready for the fall entertainment season.

The Opera House, operated by the Greater Derry Arts Council, is located downtown at 29 West Broadway in the Adams Memorial Building. The Adams Memorial Building also houses the Derry Historical Museum, the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the Derry Housing and Redevelopment Authority.