Roof repairs begin at Walton Arts Center

A crane from Fort Smith-based Holmes Erection Inc. stands in the parking lot just south of the Walton Arts Center.

Staff photo

A crew began work last week to repair the Walton Arts Center’s roofing system.

Problems with the trusses above the stage in Baum Walker Hall were found last month during preliminary work on an upcoming $23 million expansion and renovation of the center.

Arts center CEO Peter Lane said engineers “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,” Lane said.

The facility was immediately closed, and the remaining shows scheduled at the arts center were either postponed or moved to another location.

Officials said Monday that crews will work to add steel reinforcements to the truss system. After that, the lobby, box office and Starr Theater will reopen.

The center’s main stage inside Baum Walker Hall is expected to open in time for the season opening performance with Dr. John and the Nite Trippers and local musical guest, the Cate Brothers, on Sunday, Sept. 28.