By Sue Botos
After about three months of repair work following an early January sprinkler system pipe break, the Rocky River Senior Center is up and running. But questions remain surrounding work on the auditorium stage.
At the April 7 City Council committee session, safety service Director Mary Kay Costello announced that programs and classes, except those involving the stage, were back at the center after finding temporary locations in the Don Umerley Civic Center and the Rocky River United Methodist Church. (The popular deli lunch program began serving up its specialties on Monday.) The move was made necessary by extensive flooding from the pipe break, in the center’s atrium, which ruined a large portion of the building’s carpeting and drywall, causing $90,000 worth of damage.
Costello said that McGowan & Co., the city’s insurance provider for the job, had requested that a flooring expert give a report detailing the damage to the floor of the stage in the 300-plus-seat auditorium. While she said representatives from McGowan & Co. had acknowledged “some gaping” between the floorboards, the inspection “did not go our way for what we felt our patrons need.” She added that a recommendation to repair the stage floorboards only scratched the surface of some underlying problems.
According to Costello, there is “an inconsistency in the layering” on the stage floor which originally was to be corrected by sanding the surface smooth. During council’s March 24 legislative session, Costello said that there were spaces between some boards where they had shrunk due to the flooding, but that the damage went deeper into the structure. She stated that “sleepers,” pieces of wood inserted between the floor and subfloor to give the surface more resilience, had been warped from the water.
“The folks using the stage are seniors and some have special mobility needs. This must be carefully replaced,” she stated.
In answer to Councilman at Large Brian Sindelar’s question about alternatives, Costello said that a few are being weighed. “We have had discussions about a premade floor. This would cause the least amount of dust and time delays, and it would be cheaper than the manual laying down (of flooring),” she stated.
Costello said that other stage flooring experts will be consulted about how to best repair the structure. Senior center administrators are hopeful that the work will be done in time for the annual performance of the Steppin’ Out Show Choir on May 9-10 and May 16-17 at 7:30 p.m.