By Luke Brantley
WINFIELD — The Pastime Theatre in downtown Winfield will be getting a new roof after the city council accepted a bid of just over $67,000 from Mid America Roofing during its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 6.
The current roof, which was installed in the early 2000s as the building was being renovated, was damaged by the F1 tornado that hit downtown Winfield on Dec. 29, 2021.
While the roof wasn’t destroyed or removed completely, the tornado lifted the roof slightly, which has led to several issues since then.
According to Main Street President Steven Preuninger, when the tornado hit, it lifted the roof off the nearby Pizza Bar restaurant, which then impacted the roof of the theater and neighboring civic center.
The Pastime’s roof was coated in several layers of a membrane-like substance, and the impact created several punctures in the roof. Strong winds also lifted the roof slightly and caused some of the layers of the membrane to separate.
“The roofers who took a look at it said it felt like a spongy surface, which meant there had been an uplift,” Preuninger said.
Preuninger said that Mid America Roofing, the company that received the bid, will strip the membrane off the roof, and look at the boards underneath.
“It has shiplap decking on the roof, and it caused some of those pieces at the top of the theater some water damage. What they’re going to do is tear that membrane off down to the bare decking so they can see which pieces of the decking need to be replaced.”
This layer of the roof is visible from the interior of the theatre on the ceiling. Preuninger said the repairs might end up fixing more than just storm damage.
“They’ll also replace any boards that are aged beyond repair,” he said. “We’re going to get to see what the decking actually looks like when they pull all the other material off. Most of the decking will get replaced because of storm damage, but some may get replaced because of age. Either way, they’re going to replace everything that is storm or age affected when they fix the roof.
“This will be the first time the theater has had a new roof on it in a long time, and that’s a good thing.”
Mary Hyche, the chairman of the theater board, said the roof repair has taken a while to come to fruition.
“The insurance company agreed with the city that the roof needed to be replaced, and then it went out for bid,” Hyche said. “The day after the tornado, there had been a small leak, and we had that cleaned ourselves to stop further damage from happening.
“Later on, the experts came in and determined that the problem with the roof was caused by the tornado and that a new roof needed to be put on. We haven’t had any more leakage since then, but there could be. There could be some damage that we still don’t know about under the roof.”
Hyche said that there shouldn’t be any more interior repairs needed, since the theater already replaced some carpet that had sustained water damage.
Hyche said the theater is almost fully repaired after the storm.
“All of the inside repairs have already been done,” she said. “The only other thing we had to repair was the marquee, and there was the awning that was twisted, and we’ve had that repaired.”
Hyche said the repairs should only take a few weeks and should begin within the next few weeks.
“We don’t have any shows scheduled right now that it would interfere with,” she said. “We actually asked them to wait until our last concert for the 2023, concert season was over to begin construction. It just perfectly fit everybody’s timeline so that worked out well.”
Hyche said that it’s taken a while to get to this point, but now the end is in sight.
“We’ve been waiting on this for a while,” Hyche said. “I think the whole city is weary with everything needing to be repaired and replaced so quickly, and then a few things just sort of lingered on, but I think we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
See complete story in the Journal Record.