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Playhouse to fix air quality problem in old buildings

The Flat Rock Playhouse is temporarily shutting down its oldest buildings for cleanup and repairs after an environmental assessment found poor air quality in them, the theater announced on Tuesday.


The theater conducted an extensive air quality check of the 12 facilities on the 14-acre property on Jan. 21 including the Mainstage, Lowndes House, rehearsal hall, dining hall and others. Preliminary results that came back three days later showed that the air quality in several of the buildings had been compromised and needed an environmental cleanup, the Playhouse said in a news release.
The Mainstage theater was not affected, Playhouse officials emphasized.
"The steps that we have taken to ensure the continued success of Flat Rock Playhouse include this rather unexpected hurdle," said Artistic Director Lisa K. Bryant. "But we are confident that we will be able to make it right under the leadership of our Board of Directors and Executive Committee."
After an assessment of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system as well as the air quality in affected areas, environmental service contractors recommended extensive repairs at a cost of $185,000. Among the repairs the theater plans are cleaning of the air conditioning system, dehumidification of crawl spaces, installing French drains around the foundation of actors' housing, carpentry repair and repainting of the interior and exterior of the historic Lowndes House.
"These necessary improvements to our facilities combined with other forward thinking measures we have recently taken – streamlining the season's offerings, reducing staff during the off season, instituting business controls to become more fiscally responsible – are all action items that we feel will ensure the Playhouse's sustainability for many years to come," Bryant said. "In the meantime, we are operating business as usual and hope to have this matter resolved swiftly and efficiently as we continue to plan for our upcoming 2015 season."
During the repairs, the box office and administrative offices will move from the 1884 Lowndes House to the Robin Farquhar YouTheatre. Signage will direct ticket buyers to the temporary offices, at 1855 Little River Road. Patrons wishing to purchase tickets may also call 828.693.0731 or visit www.flatrockplayhouse.org.