Orpheum repairs expected to be finished next spring

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - The IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center repair continues on Main Street after the building saw extensive damage during the July 19 tornado.

The winds of the July 19 EF-3 tornado were enough to lift the roof of the Iowa Valley Community College District Orpheum Theater Center off its base and slam it back down.

Extensive damage was the result, and crews from L.J. Roth Restoration Services have been working to repair the Marshalltown icon, as well as the Iowa Valley Education and Training Center, 206 E. Church St.

“It’s just been a very easy project to get off the ground,” said L.J. Roth, restoration company owner. He shared a progress report with the Iowa Valley Board of Trustees Wednesday.

“We’re projecting that, subject to the weather, we’ll have it finished in April,” he said of repairs to the Orpheum.

That project has been split into two phases, one of which is nearing completion. Phase II will see work on the electrical system, seating, glass work, repairing the storefront and more.

Roth said his initial assessment of the damage was about $2.5 million. The district has the costs well-covered, with insurance paying for up to $250 million.

Roth said his company has taken great care in preserving the artwork and decorations that were inside the Orpheum when the tornado hit.

“We put them in a conditioned storage base, which happens to be one of my airplane hangars,” Roth, who also works as a pilot, said.

He said the hangar environment is carefully controlled so the artwork does not build up moisture or condensation. Roth also said crews will restore the pieces when the Orpheum repairs are complete.

“We diagramed them all before we took them off, so we’ll know exactly where they go,” he said.

The Education and Training Center will take a little longer to complete, and the company’s goal is to have that project done by Oct. 1, 2019. The ETC is currently operational while the Orpheum is not.

Iowa Valley Chancellor Chris Duree commended Roth and his crew for their work.

“They’re doing some incredible work at the Orpheum,” he said. “They do this work literally all over the country.”

The Orpheum first opened in 1949 and a renovation on the building was completed in 2010. Prior to the tornado, it hosted several popular social and musical events.

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611

or asodders@timesrepublican.com