Since the fire, it's been amazing to see just how much the Theatre meant to people, and we are grateful for your support.
Click here for a list of those that donated to the rebuilding of the Theatre. Many thanks to these people and organizations for their support!
June 19, 2009. We hope to be re-opening by June 19, 2011. These slides provide a snapshot of the steps we have been through.
The fire burned so hot that they estimated it was 2,500 degrees inside. It was a total loss. Only the walls were salvageable, and they required help.
The roof's trusses were the type of wood you can't get anymore, 300 year old heart pine. We removed those charred beams to clean them up and build the new bars out of the unburned inner core.
The art deco finishes and details were lost. We are honoring those details in the new design. See the old speakers down there?
The debris was toxic and required remediation with hazmat suits. Everything had to go.
You can see the one roof truss in the back that collapsed. There was danger that the other beams might fall.
We felt like we had to rebuild. It was just too important of a place to let it go. It was time to get to work and make it happen against all odds.
We got all the debris out, but the steel was compromised by the heat of the fire, and the trusses (now removed) provided lateral stability for the walls so we had to support the walls to keep from losing them. A big gust of wind at this point could have been disastrous.
So we brought in and erected new steel to support the walls. This was a delicate process.
The floor had to be removed to comply with building codes. It was too steep for a modern building. There were brick columns holding up the floor and tons of old rebar. What a mess!
Those angled steel pieces matched the ones on the outside of the building on Clayton St. We had to work around them and be careful not to knock down the walls.
Then the basement floor had to come out too. We had to go deeper to fit bathrooms in the basement. But how do we keep from undermining the foundations?
Going deeper and deeper…
The combination of old and new steel… It was like a jigsaw puzzle. We were taking stuff out by the ton and putting new stuff in to support what was going out, but it was all still temporary.
Finally we poured some concrete. Notice the wall on the left, this wall was continued around the entire perimeter of the building to act as new footings for the walls because the new floor is lower than the old floor as you can see from the height of that angled support beam.
Then we started building interior walls in the basement. This part was really tricky because we still had to work around the temporary supports.
Lots of head scratching… Notice the old tunnel being used as a portal for the new water lines.
The skeleton of steel and no roof made for some interesting shadows. The old brickwork is gorgeous.
Lots of steel and none of it can stay, but what to remove first? Oh, and how to get it out?
The crane and outrigger extension arrive.
The first piece of new permanent steel… This was a big day for us. It had been 17 months of dealing with a ton of complexities and finally we were going up. We had never been so happy to see a big beam.
The basement starts taking shape. Lots of room for storage, bathrooms, and electronics...
The rest of the columns arrive. The steelwork was really fascinating. We basically built an entirely new building inside the old walls which now are practically just decorations.
The horizontal steel beams to support the new dance floor. Notice the holes cut for the sprinkler lines to run through.
The main floor was poured and then the framing continued up into the balcony. The walls are so beautiful. We will leave some of the bricks exposed between the curtains.
The stage… Those holes are for air conditioning.
We are saving and using all of the old materials that we can.
The balcony will be much improved over our old balcony. We gained a good bit of space up here. The sight-lines are amazing from all three levels.
We hope you enjoyed this look behind the scenes. We hope to stay on schedule and be back soon. The venue and rooftop patio are going to be great. We can't wait to have you back!
Tragedy struck Athens and the national music community in the summer of 2009, with the burning of the historic Georgia Theatre. The Theater is known for the inception and featuring of notable artists including REM, Widespread Panic, The B-52's, Sound Tribe Sector Nine, and many more who performed there, as well as being the centerpiece of music in Athens and the region. Additionally the building has a thick and endearing history independent of its musical following. In response to this catastrophe, filmmakers Eric Krasle, Jacob Kinsman, and Andrew Haynes united for the production of the film "Athens Burning," a comprehensive High Production Value HD Video Documentary of approximately 80 minutes centered around the history of the historic venue; also thoroughly covering the history of Athens Music Scene from the 1970's until present, particularly with regard to links to the Georgia Theatre.
The film opens with the scene after the burning of the Theatre in Summer, 2009 and then moves chronologically from the 1970's through the rebuilding of the Georgia Theatre. The film features notable artists who performed at the venue over the years, the players in the music scene and at the Theater over the decades, the fire, the fundraising, such as benefit shows and community efforts, and the rebuilding. This non-traditional type documentary covers some bizarre subjects, like the search for a masonic treasure under the building, the nightmares of its horrified owner after the fire, and the quirky scene in Athens, Georgia, where many in the South spent their college years and look to for musical inspiration.
This project is the official documentary, endorsed and raising money for the rebuilding of the Georgia Theatre, and has been covered enthusiastically by CNN.com, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution, among other media.