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Ashland Community Center closed

The building was deemed unsafe by a structural engineer.

Posted: Apr 2, 2019 12:06 AM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- One of the community center's employees reported one of the walls of the Ashland Community Center was bowing. An engineer came by to examine the building and by Friday, the building was closed.

David Lohman, the Ashland City Attorney, said the north wall facing the parking lot was bowing.

"We have to figure out exactly what can be done," Lohman said. 

A structural engineer examined the building on Friday and found several cracks in the ceiling and later, confirmed the north wall was not supporting the building correctly.

"They're saying we need to take the roof off and start over with some of that super structure that holds the roof up," Lohman explained. He says it's not going to be a quick fix.

"She suggested some long-term fixes, but what we didn't get was if there are any short-term fixes that would allow us to continue using the building until we can get to a long-term solution."

Ashland city officials are hoping to hear from the engineers this week with an update on what can be repaired.

More than 20 groups rent out the facility each week. For now, renters will have to find a new location for their scheduled activites. One of those renters is Ashland Stomping Ground, a local dance company. They have been renting from the center for more than three years. During the dance company's last performance on March 21, a light fell from the ceiling. The light shattered on a dancer's head and face mid-performance.

We reached out to that dancer and haven't heard back yet, but in a public Facebook post, she asked for advice on how to heal her concussion. She even commented saying she is so angry that she is thinking of suing.

At the time of the incident, Lohman said they believed the light fell because it was not installed correctly. 

"Maybe that was the cause or maybe it will turn out that the structural problems were the cause, we're not sure," Lohman told Newswatch12. 

He said the lights were just recently installed prior to when the incident happened. City officials say they might not ever be able to tell exactly what made that light fall on the dancer. 

NewsWatch12 will continue you to update you on when and if the building will reopen.

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