Springer Opera House staff moves forward in aftermath of flooding

Local News

Most of the water is gone the day after major flooding was discovered in the basement of the historic Springer Opera House in downtown Columbus. 

The extent of the damage and the cost to repair it are still not known. 

The leak was caused by the failure of a valve to the fire service line, according to the Columbus Water Works. 

Most of the basement flooring – which was under up to 4 feet of water in spots — is a dirt floor. That dirt turned into mud and on Thursday that silt was having to be pumped out of the building. 

Springer Producing Artistic Director Paul Pierce spent Thursday meeting with staff, assessing the damage and moving forward. 

“The good news is the water has been pumped out of the building and we are beginning to assess the damage,” Pierce said. “We have Servpro, electricians, we have lots of people working down there to recover the space. That’s got to happen first. We have already determined there is some very serious damage to the electrical system for the stage.” 

Two major productions are on the schedule in the next few weeks and both are now in rehearsals. 

Outside of the 148-year-old Springer Opera House Thursday afternoon you could hear the humming of large vacuums sucking mud out of the basement. 

Inside the Springer Theater Academy adjacent to the main building, there was a humming of a different kind. The Springer staff was working hard trying to figure out how to keep the season on schedule. 

Springer Producing Artistic Director Paul Pierce was at the center of that activity. The Springer is preparing to open two major shows. 101 Dalmatians opens on Feb. 22 in the McClure Theatre and Evita opens on the main stage March 8.  

“We are in the-show-must-go-on mode,” Pierce said. “We’re opening 101 Dalmatians next week and the thing we are doing there is bringing in a generator truck and we are going to hook into the Dorothy McClure Theatre system, and we are going to get that up and running this weekend so we can have technical rehearsals.” 

Evita offers more challenges, but there’s more time to deal with it. 

“The work is continuing with Evita,” Pierce said. “We have moved out of the main theater into the rehearsal halls for the academy. That’s where we are rehearsing. And the scene shops and costume shops are still working, as well as the prop shop. And that’s all with cables and small generators that’s keeping those shops running.”

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