Repairs set to commence at Memorial Auditorium should leave the facility in “pretty good shape,” according to Jeff Wilbert, auditorium director.

Repairs set to commence at Memorial Auditorium should leave the facility in “pretty good shape,” according to Jeff Wilbert, auditorium director.
Engineers are look at how to approach $200,000 worth of projects at the auditorium, from rebuilding the steps at the front entrance to the building to repairing a basement all that has seen water issues in recent years.
“Those problems have been there a couple years now,” said John Van Gorden, interim Pittsburg City Manager. “We’ve tried temporary solutions a few times and put them off a bit. But now we really need to get on those projects.”
The $200,000 price tag was actually down a bit from the initial proposed cost of $250,000, with about $50,000 of those funds set to replace about 440 seats on the main level of the auditorium. But Pittsburg City Commissioners asked if the seat replacement could be tabled for a few years to allow the economy, and the city’s tight budget, to rebound.
“The auditorium was last remodeled in 1984,” Wilbert said. “So it’s just starting to get to the point where it’s showing wear and tear. We needed some other things for the auditorium, but the commission felt that there were other issues that were probably more important to the city. And I have no problem with that. I agree with that.”
The steps have deteriorated to the point that part of the entrance is blocked off by cones to keep people utilizing the rails when ascending and descending.
“We’ve just had years of thawing and freezing, and we’ve had damage done to the steps through that,” Wilbert said. “There’s some inlay there that has come loose, so there’s a danger of tripping as you’re going up the steps.
“We do have alternate steps on either side of the building, so if we have to shut down the main entrance for a little while they should be able to use those,” Wilbert said.
Van Gorden said the first step would be to remove the steps to see whether there are any problems underneath. After fixing any problems, workers would then rebuild the steps, he said.
Wilbert said that the repairs fit in well with the additions through an energy conservation program a few years ago. That program allowed the city to make several energy efficiency improvements, including the addition of new heating and air conditioning units, a state of the art sound system and reworking of the lights. The roof was also fixed.
“Really, with the age we’ve had since the last repair, we are doing pretty well,” Wilbert said. “There are things that we could do inside, but actually, for what is done in the auditorium and the functionality of it, we’re really in pretty good shape.”
Wilbert attributed a large part of that to his “proactive staff members,” who “do what they can to keep up.” Van Gorden said the city would try to address the auditorium’s other needs once the economy began to recover.
“The auditorium always has needs,” Van Gorden said. “But hopefully, this should put us in good shape for a while.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134