By Morrisa Shwartz – Staff Writer
By this point, most of the Drew community is well aware of the “collapse” in the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts that took place after the snow over the weekend. But according to Professor Andrew Eliot of the Theatre Arts Department, who is working on the situation, there has been some confusion as to what actually occurred, “To be clear, there has not been a collapse. There is some structural damage to one of the exterior walls of the building.”
According to Mike Kopas, executive director of Facilities and Special Projects, “At this point, the measures we are taking to restrict access to portions of the building are precautionary.”
“In order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, the decision was made to close the theatre wing,” Eliot added. A structural engineer is also evaluating the issue.
The main issue has to do with the leaks. “When ice builds up on roofs and gutters, it expands and exposes areas that normally would not be. Then, once we have some melt, like we will have this week, water finds it way through those exposed areas and into the buildings,” explained Kopas. “Unfortunately, there is usually very little we can do when this happens. Many of the roofs are sloped so therefore far too dangerous to have people up on them. We need to do our best to contain the leaks inside the buildings then make the repairs once we can do so safely.”
The issue has affected many students, especially those designing sets and costumes for upcoming shows.
Lauren Kardos (’16) is a props designer for “Dead Rock Stars,” one of the shows that was supposed to go up in the Kean Theatre. She found out about the damage during a production meeting and that the show, which is still opening on Wednesday as planned, would have to move to TOE.
We are already a week behind in this class, and we can’t really afford to miss many more classes. —Lauren Kardos (’16)
Angela Rouse (’16) is working on “Dead Rock Stars” as a costume designer. She said, “The collapse has made it nearly impossible for me to work on constructing pieces for my design because the costume shop and wardrobe are closed off. The Theatre wing of the DoYo being closed not only impedes my education but also my job and portfolio work.”
Michal Kortsarts (’17) said, “I feel so bad for all of the current sets. They have been working so hard to put their shows together and now they ran into this! They have to move their shows to a new location, which means they have to change their blocking and lighting.”
Kardos said that her theatre design class was evacuated, adding, “We are already a week behind in this class, and we can’t really afford to miss many more classes.” Many students are facing issues with missing classes due to the storms.
Rouse also had classes canceled from the collapse, “My life has been affected considerably more than just a missing a few instruction hours. I’m a member of tech staff, so I’ve missed out on a lot of work hours that I could really use. Not to mention the fact that my coworkers and I will probably be dealing with a lot of the damage control once the building is structurally sound.”
Kardos added, “If we can’t get into the Black Box for awhile it’s going to put my theatre design class in jeopardy because all the drafting tables are on the second level of the black box. My classes (Tuesday) were all canceled because of the structural damage. Our classes going forward are moved to a different location.”
Eliot insists that this closing is for the safety of faculty and students. He said, “From the moment that the damage was found, Facilities and university administration have been working hard on the problem. The Theatre & Dance faculty have also been working hard to create contingency plans for our courses and our production season.”