City officials confirmed this week that the entire north section of the Expo Arts Center on Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls has to be gutted and rebuilt after rain flooded the facility late last month during a roofing project, causing significant water damage.
Douglas Orr, who manages the building, said Long Beach Roofing, which was in the middle of replacing the facility’s roof, rolled plastic over the top of the building as it began to rain. However, the weatherproofing wasn’t secured properly and water flooded the facility, he said.
The rain ended up soaking sound equipment, art pieces, an electrical conduit, historic movie-theater seats, floors, walls, scenic materials and storage, Orr said.
“The whole north end of the building was just completely flooded and ruined,” he said, adding that the roofing project was part of a $200,000 overhaul paid for by former redevelopment funds. Also damaged was the Back Room Theatre.
The contractor’s insurance company is expected to pay for all damages, said 8th District Long Beach City Councilmember Al Austin, who said the total estimate of the water damage and the cost to rebuild the facility had not been determined.
As all parties involved were assessing damage, Austin reported the incident to City Manager Patrick West and the City’s public works department, and City staff were out about a week later to clean up the water-damaged area. “Obviously, this is a very important resource to the 8th district and the City,” Austin said.
The City of Long Beach has now closed off the north side of the building to make way for extensive renovations.