BRAWLEY — Cosmetic and structural repairs to Palmer Auditorium at Brawley Union High School could keep it closed anywhere from a year to a year and a half, estimated engineer Jimmy Sanders.
The city’s beloved auditorium has been closed since August after a string of earthquakes caused significant damage to the ceiling and seating area.
Sanders, an engineer with Sanders Inc. heading up the renovations of the auditorium, addressed the local high school board Wednesday evening concerning the auditorium’s condition.
“Due to the August quakes, all the buildings in the school were reviewed and it was per the inspector’s recommendation that you close Palmer until seismic retrofits could be made,” Sanders said.
Brawley resident Patti Wilson urged the board to expedite the repairs to Palmer for the sake of the school’s theatre program and for the musicians who use the facility.
Musician and Brawley resident Sal Ortiz agreed. As a member of Jimmie Cannon’s Valley Jazz, he hopes the band can play there again soon as, he said, no other theater has the acoustics that Palmer has.
Brawley Union High School District Trustee Rusty Garcia asked Sanders what the district can do to speed along the process to get Palmer back open.
Sanders said to help cover the costs of the renovations, the district should apply for a grant through the state’s Office of Public School Construction was made.
“It’s going to be a lengthy process,” Sanders explained. “There are a number or applications that have to be submitted before we see any kind of money from the state.”
The application process could take upwards of a year, he said.
“We hope by the end of the school year we will be approved,” Sanders said. “From there it could take anywhere from three to six months to make the actual repairs.”
Should the district receive approval from the state, it would have to match half the cost of the repairs, which could range anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000.
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
At a glance
The board had a reorganization of positions where it named Helen Noriega as president, Carol Sassie as vice president and Rusty Garcia as clerk of the board.
Randy Smith, district director of facilities and construction, announced the community came together to deliver much-needed repairs to the infield of Wiest Field, which is used by the city and the district for a number of events.
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