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Engineering firm evaluating damage to Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater

MAYVILLE – Roof damage to Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheater appears limited to a wing in the far northeast corner, a Chautauqua spokesman said Thursday.

“The whole structure does not seem to be in any danger, but they are assessing that right now. We think it’s just isolated to (the wing),” spokesman Jordan Steves said. Wendel, an engineering firm, was evaluating the damage, which was discovered Wednesday.

Steves said it is not known why the column collapsed, but something similar happened in 2003 to another wing, which he said was likely because of heavy snow. The Amphitheater has ben cordoned off as a precaution.

The 1893 Amphitheater has been a source of controversy since Chautauqua’s board of directors announced plans to demolish the historic utdoor theater late this summer and build a new theater in its place.

A grass-roots effort by Chautauquans opposed to those plans received support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other organizations. Meanwhile, concerns raised by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation led to a decision in January to delay demolition plans for more community discussion this summer.

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