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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » THE RE-OPENING OF THE WARD THEATER, HAS NOW MOVED TO CHRISTMAS!

THE RE-OPENING OF THE WARD THEATER, HAS NOW MOVED TO CHRISTMAS!

BY RICHARD JOHNSON—

 

UNFORESEEN challenges and the procurement process have been cited for the delay in completing restoration work on downtown Kingston’s historic Ward Theater.

An initial deadline of August was proposed. However, it has now moved to the upcoming Christmas season. The project is spearheaded by the city’s mayor, Delroy Williams, who sourced the funding to resuscitate the 105-year-old cultural cradle.

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“We wanted to have the theater operational by the end of August, but a number of issues have [arisen] preventing us from meeting this target. We are currently preparing a report to release to the general public just to make persons aware of where were are, what we have done, what is being done,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“One of our major challenges was with the plumbing. We did not foresee some of the issues and, therefore, major work had to be undertaken, which included complete re-piping and underground sewerage works. So that delayed us somewhat. We are about 90 per cent complete as it relates to the plumbing at this time. We also met major problems with the roof of the theater which simply had to be done. There was also termite infestation for which we had to add an extra three weeks to have that taken care of in the correct way. These major hurdles have been dealt with,” he continued.

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Mayor Williams said restoration and refurbishing work has been completed on the 13 changing rooms and bathrooms of the theatre, with final touches being done to the windows; recess lighting has been installed in the ceiling; and all the masonry to the exterior and interior of the building has been done.

“We are putting the fine finishing such as moldings and the aesthetics on hold until we complete the electrical work. We are set to receive major assistance with the electrical works and lighting for the theatre, so we are just waiting for that to move ahead. The Ministry of Culture is assisting by providing the air conditioning unit. That is currently being sourced and we know what the procurement process is like. The CHASE Fund is providing us with some money which we are using for seating and carpeting, while the Tourism Enhancement Fund has granted $10 million which will go towards sound and lighting equipment,” said Mayor Williams.

The mayor is already looking to grand events, including a major performance to mark the reopening of the theatre in December.

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