Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center celebrating new stage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center celebrating new stage


The Blue Man Group will soon put on four sold-out shows at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls.  You might remember that all three performances of that show had to be scratched back in January, after a pipe connected to a sprinkler head broke.  That pipe spewed 10,000 gallons of water, drenching the stage and the Blue Man Group's equipment.

But now, the Gallagher Bluedorn is celebrating recovery with a new stage.  And the center is look forward to seeing it used in this year's performances.

The new solid black stage at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls really shines.  And that's not just because it is new.  Staff at the GBPAC say it's a beaming example of how everyone came together to keep the stage from being totally destroyed after an unexpected pipe burst back in January.

"The speed in response to an incident like that makes all the difference--how long things stay wet.  And they had an incredible response time.  People just dropped everything from all over campus and came and helped.  And that really turned well a $2 million problem into a $150,000 problem," said Steve Carignan, GBPAC director.

That quick action also meant the stage could still be used for the remained of last season.  But there was still a lurking concern as to what happened under the stage after it was soaked by all the flood water.  Luckily, no mold grew.  But to make the stage stronger, and ready for many more years of use, the old oak floor had to be replaced.

The new stage floor at the Gallagher Bluedorn is made of maple.  That means it will be more durable and last longer.

"The oak floor we had isn't as resistant to damage.  It's a hard wood, but it tends to splinter as it gets older, when it gets damaged.  Maple tends to hold together.  It's got a little better, just a better kind of wood for some purposes.  So when we switched to maple we went from a 10-15 year flood to a 20-25 year floor," Carignan said.

Overhead, the sprinkler system's also been update to make it stronger.  Both are steps that just might prevent future problems in order to keep the stage performance-ready for years to come.

And the stage will be very busy this year, with a full slate of performances that starts with the re-scheduled, sold-out Blue Man Group Shows.  Those shows will start September 6.

By the way--the Gallagher Bluedorn did save one piece of the old stage floor, creating a plaque with names of major sponsors who helped pay for the new stage.

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