Walton Arts Center recently learned of a potentially significant problem in Baum Walker Hall that requires immediate precautionary closing of the main Walton Arts Center building and postponement or rescheduling of the balance of shows/events for the summer. Engineers working on the upcoming expansion/renovation project have recently identified a structural issue with the trusses that support the main hall and are continuing to analyze the magnitude of the problem, the costs involved and the time it will take to complete the repairs.

As part of our expansion plans to meet the anticipated future demands of larger touring productions, the steel trusses in Baum Walker Hall were to be strengthened in the summer of 2015. While doing the forensic investigation of the existing trusses and the evaluation of how much additional support would be needed, the architect and engineering firms discovered that the current load on the existing trusses appeared to be excessive. This apparent structural deficiency meant that Baum Walker Hall might not be safe for public occupancy.

Once this situation was evaluated by the structural engineers and these additional details became evident, we took immediate action. Last week, we closed the hall to any further activity and rescheduled all the remaining shows and events during June and July. Further study by the engineering team in the days since that partial closure suggested possible impact on the whole building. As a result, we have taken the additional precautionary step to close the main Walton Arts Center building including our box office which will be temporarily located in Nadine Baum Studios.

The building will remain closed until we shore up the existing trusses and repairs can be completed.

We are extremely grateful to our engineering, construction and architectural teams that helped to discover this previously unknown issue. There are still many variables impacting this complex engineering problem and we are learning new and updated information almost daily. We deeply regret the inconvenience to patrons, clients and staff who have been affected by this significant issue; however, the overall safety of our public and our staff must remain paramount.