Repairs from extensive water damage got underway this week at the Gallo Center for the Arts, and officials plan to have the venue back to as good as new by the end of August.
Flooding from a burst pipe leading into a second-floor ice machine left large swaths of the performing arts center’s flooring, walls and ceilings soaked before it was discovered June 9. Since then, crews have been drying out wet areas, finishing demolition of damaged materials and assessing repairs as part of the first phase of the restoration process. Phase two began Thursday as new drywall was delivered and will begin to be installed to replace what was ruined by water.
“While I’m impatient by nature, I’m very pleased with the progress,” said Gallo Center CEO Lynn Dickerson. “The project has been handled very well by the county and Belfor. It’s impressive to see how much has been done and how tidy they are in a very messy job.”
The staff of the nonprofit Gallo Center has been working in tandem with officials from Stanislaus County, which owns the building and leases it back to the arts organization. Repair work is being done around the venue’s performance schedule, which has continued despite the construction. All of the carpeting and molding on the first- and second-floor lobbies has been removed, and sections of ceiling and walls have been cut out.
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The center held its first public performance a week ago since the flooding and had events throughout the week, including shows by comedian Carlos Mencia and soul singer Maxwell. Guests were able to access all of the theaters and entrances despite the ongoing cleanup. Temporary patching has been placed over the openings in the walls and ceilings for the public’s safety.
County Chief Operations Officer and Assistant Executive Officer Patty Hill Thomas said Belfor Property Restoration has been the chief contractor on the project, and most of the other contractors and subcontractors on the job are locally based. There is no official estimate on the cost to repair the damage, she said.
“It was significantly damaged, and in a very short period of time for a lot of people from the Gallo Center and county team and all the contractors to get it ready to open last Friday night was a significant accomplishment,” she said. “I don’t think it could be going better. It’s been a tremendous effort by so many people.”
The center’s electrical system, elevators and most of its computers were not damaged by the water. But the ticket office and upper and lower concession stands have been closed and await repair. Makeshift box office and concession stands have been set up in the front of the lobby and are open to the public during the process.
The estimated completion date for the project is Aug. 28, Dickerson said. Until then, she is asking audience members to pardon the dust and bear with the center through the work. Shows continue this weekend with performances by The Piano Guys and final stagings of Modesto Performing Arts’ musical “Man of La Mancha.”
“Audiences have been very understanding. We had many first-time patrons here for both the Carlos Mencia show and the Maxwell concert,” Dickerson said. “During my preshow announcements from the stage, I explained what was going on and I also talked to lots of people in the lobby. I think everyone had a great time anyway. I invited them to come back later and see us again after we’re back to our normal, beautiful state.”