War Memorial experiences lasting effects of June floods

Anna Guylas '23 and Anna Czech '23

NO ENTRY The June flood damage covers the entrance of The War Memoiral, making it inaccessible to enter or exit without trekking through puddles. Photo Credit: (The War Memorial)

The War Memorial suffered extensive damages during the late June floods and is currently working on restoration.

According to War Memorial Director of Communication Jessica Kaminski, The Patriot Theater on the lower level of the building was hit the hardest. In addition to the orchestra pit, a portion of the stage was flooded as well. Almost two feet of water accumulated in the front circle of the main building, seeping through the lower levels of the building.

“(Restoration) included removing wet carpet and drywall, pulling out the floorboards on the stage and taking the seats out of the theater,” Kaminski said. “For the time being, the theater will remain offline as we complete our additional renovation project. The theater will be rebuilt, but we don’t anticipate reopening it until at least 2023.”

With the theater currently closed, events are not being held there for the time being, though Kaminski said the War Memorial is doing a great job of minimizing any effects of the flood.

“Thankfully, no events had to be canceled or postponed in the theater,” Kaminski said. “A few of our hospitality events had to utilize different spaces on our campus, but our sales team did a wonderful job of working with clients to minimize the impact of the flooding and damage on their events.”

According to War Memorial employee Isabel Stoller ’22, the major expenses included ripping out all of the carpeted areas and replacing a wedding tent. Stoller said these payments are significant, considering renovations of the south wing of the War Memorial began recently.

“The tent outside was completely flooded,” Stoller said. “Rainwater collapsed over the seawall, flooding the dance floor. Parts of the buildings and the downstairs level (were flooded), as well as the hallways. They had to rip up carpet because water, about two feet high, was in there. They couldn’t [squeeze] water out of everything.”

FLOODED As the June thunderstorms raged on, the rain poured into The War Memorial Patriot Theater, flooding the orchestra pit, seating area and even the stage area according to employee Isabel Stroller ’22. Photo Credit: (The War Memorial)

Stoller said she was at the War Memorial during the time of the flood and mentioned the effects the storm had on the wedding she was working at. Weddings during the weekend of the flood and the following week were canceled due to the destruction of the tent.

“(The flood) didn’t affect me so much, as we couldn’t have venues outside for a few days, so we had to move everything inside,” Stoller said. “So it was really more affecting the people getting married. The maintenance guys who work there did a really good job of cleaning up and making sure everything was safe.”

South students are specifically impacted by the flooding, as the evacuation drill process is changing. Vice Principal Cynthia Parravano said it is challenging to find a new location that can accommodate the large number of students. According to Parravano, the District Director of Buildings and Grounds must also deal with liability paperwork when searching for a new spot for evacuation drills.

“Currently, the district is in the process of securing another location because we can’t use the War Memorial, and the Memorial Church is not big enough to house all of us,” Parravano said. “We’re just waiting on the district to provide us with information about where we’re going.”

Outside of evacuation drills, Parravano believes the flooding will affect a large portion of the community due to the wide range of events it holds.

“The War Memorial has been a big staple in the community, and to lose its functionality with the community is devastating,” Parravano said.