hangarflooded_120After a flash flood swept through the City of Ithaca on the evening of  August 8th, damaging numerous sites around the city and flowing into the recently remodeled Hangar Theatre, rigorous efforts were make to keep the theatre open and functioning for audiences. The Hangar staff, board, and other supporters worked tirelessly to curtail the waters that entered the building, causing the cancellation of opening night of Clybourne Park on August 9th.

Ultimately, the 2010 building redesign and the extraordinary teamwork that took place allowed the theatre to close for only one night, reopening the following day for the matinee and evening performances.  Opening night ticket holders were reseated and finished the remainder of the season. The upcoming CabarETC performances of Back to the Garden on September 20 - 21 at 8pm will also go on as planned.

A heavy rainstorm dumped over five inches of rain in Tompkins County, damaging the local roads, culverts, and waterways. Water entered the Hangar lobby and greenroom, both areas were inundated with sediment and debris.

"The flash flood was quite a shock.  For most of the evening the water and parking lot were draining as you'd expect in a heavy rain situation.  It was just before the end of the performance on Thursday when the waters began to rise very quickly. When we got back into the building on Friday morning, there was water and mud all over the place," said Josh Friedman, Hangar Theatre's Managing Director.

As the water receded the next day, storage closets had to be emptied, furniture had to be removed, and the building had to be cleaned and dried thoroughly. Fortunately, due to the redesign of the building by HOLT Architects, the water did not enter the theatre interior or come onto the stage, which prevented the set of Clybourne Park from being destroyed.

"The design of the building made it possible for us to get things cleaned up quickly.  The concrete floors and baseboards were made to handle this type of event," stated Friedman. "The Hangar sustained about $40,000 in damages and clean up expenses.  We had rugs and furniture ruined and we have to replace some cabinetry.  Some of our sound equipment and a couple of computers were also damaged, but fortunately they were not integral to the show that was onstage."

HOLT Architects President Graham Gillespie noted, "The Hangar's 2010 renovation project not only revitalized the theatre, but also focused on mitigating the possible flood impacts that go along with building on or near a wetlands area. Key to increasing this resiliency were site drainage improvements, creative interior finishes solutions such as raising wall finishes 8" above the water resistant flooring, and lifting the stage several inches above its original height. Without these improvements in 2010, the recent flooding would have caused wall and flooring damage resulting in the Hangar having to suspend multiple performances and incurring additional costs."