Palmer Auditorium repairs to begin soon


Palmer front


BRAWLEY – The BUHSD board heard from Jimmy Sanders of Sanders Inc. Architecture Engineering concerning the state of Palmer Auditorium. Historical Palmer has been beset by fire and earthquake damage for the past decade, opening and then having to shut down for years until renovations were made. This last delay came from the 2012 August earthquakes that happened the day before school last year.

According to Sanders, the scope of the problems and issues do not concern the structure. “The structure itself is in good shape. It’s the nonstructural items that are the problem with the exception of roof-to-wall anchors which nobody can see but they  up there above the trusses right at the roof line.”

Sanders informed the board that the foundation system is in great shape. However, to fix the roof to wall anchors means taking off the existing roof, laying plywood down and then re-roofing Palmer.

The District has applied for Phase 2 once Phase 1 was approved. Sanders said, “There were no drum rolls or fireworks when we announced we had gotten Phase 1 approval. But our firm and the District worked very hard to get this approval. So far today there have been eight projects approved by the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) since their inception four years ago.”

We have Division of State Architect (DSA) approval for Phase 1 which means the District will not have to re-qualify for funding for the next phase. Now we don’t need to worry about being rejected for phase 2 of phase 3 we just need to move along and meet their requirements.”

Referring back to the construction work ahead, Sanders said that the major problems inside is the heavy 1 inch plaster ceiling that is not only heavy, but rigid.  All the plaster must come down and with that all the house lighting must come down, too. The ceiling will be replaced with the light gauge metal framing and covered with half inch gypsum board, textured, then painted.

The Palmer Auditorium committee was very concerned about the acoustics, but Sanders reassured everyone that the replacement materials will not change the acoustics. He said the biggest problem will be people looking at the inside and wondering what was done.

The gypsum board and the light gauge metal will keep all the acoustical values as before. Inside the cosmetic plaster ornamentation will be replaced with light gauge Styrofoam covered with texture to get rid of some of them pieces that fell. These plaster pieces were 6-8 inches thick.

Styrofoam will re-create the corrugated look next to the stage that once was plaster. Sanders plans on keeping the inside profile identical, just using much lighter materials than previously used.

The surface will have the same hardness and it will have the same profile so the acoustics will be the same. Sanders explained that sound doesn’t penetrate the surface, it doesn’t know what’s behind the wall it hits, and the sound is not affected by the density but by the hardness of the surface.

The board was told to expect approval in two months, another month for bids to go out, work should take 3 – 4 months making everything take about seven months from now.