Fairmont Opera House Closes: Scope of Roof Repair Project Expanded

    December 7th, 2023

    Fairmont, Minn — Based on new findings by structural engineers, The Fairmont Opera House is now closed to the public until further notice to allow initial work to begin on the roof repair project. The facility will need additional temporary support structures beyond initial estimates, thus expanding the project scope. The additional structures will help ensure the sustained strength of the facility’s roof throughout the project, and will remain in place until the full scope of repairs can be completed.

    As a result, the demolition of several walls throughout the facility, including those housing restroom facilities, was deemed necessary due to the location requirements for the support structures. This process also involved removing almost half of the theater’s seats, toilets, and other necessary electrical work before installing the temporary support structures. These support structures will create limitations in egress pathways throughout the facility, rendering it inaccessible and unusable for hosting events until their removal post-repair.

    For everyone’s comfort and safety, no programming will occur in the facility until further notice and shows slated for spring 2024 have been canceled.

    “It is always difficult to cancel programming,” says Fairmont Opera House Executive Director Blake Potthoff. “Cutting Edge Fitness and Grace Lutheran Church have opened their doors to us this Christmas season for our December shows, which we are incredibly grateful for, but it has become necessary for us to focus on the repair project in the new year.”

    While the expanded project scope is essential for the preservation of the Fairmont Opera House facility, the first phase of the project alone comes with a current price tag of $483,974 to install and maintain the temporary roof supports. The cost of the full repairs is yet to be determined but is expected to be in the range of several million dollars.

    Starting the first phase of this project presents an urgent and unforeseen financial challenge for the Fairmont Opera House, and the organization is reaching out to the community with a sincere request for financial support to bridge this funding gap. As we near the end of the year, there’s a chance for community members to pitch in and enjoy tax benefits for the current calendar year. Your support will help maintain this iconic venue and ensure its viability for future generations!

    “The Fairmont Opera House has been a cultural beacon in our community for over a century, hosting countless performances, events, and memories. This is the most significant and critical renovation since the early 1980s, and your support will help maintain this iconic venue and ensure its viability for generations to come,” said Bob Luedtke, Chair of the Board of Directors at Fairmont Opera House.

    How You Can Help:

    Donate: Contributions of any amount are instrumental in the success of this project. Every dollar brings us closer to securing the future of Fairmont Opera House.

    Spread the Word: Share this news with friends, family, and colleagues. Your advocacy can make a significant impact in mobilizing support.

    To Donate or Learn More:

    Visit fairmontoperahouse.org/capital-donate or contact Blake Potthoff, Executive Director, at blake@fairmontoperahouse.org.

    We are immensely grateful for the unwavering support our community has shown over the years, and we believe that together, we can ensure Fairmont Opera House continues to be a vibrant cultural hub.

    About Fairmont Opera House:

    Fairmont Opera House, a historic landmark since 1901, has been the cultural cornerstone of our community, providing a stage for a diverse array of performances and events.