Coliseum authority fixes venues' roofs

Chris Thelen/Staff
Workers fix the roof of Bell Auditorium. James Brown Arena, in the background, also needs roof repairs. Leaks at the facilities have been a nuisance, even canceling a Mamma Mia! show.

With the onus on Global Spectrum to attract top-quality acts to Augusta, the last thing civic center complex General Manager Monty Jones needs is any more shows canceled because of rain.


That's what happened Jan. 11, when water seeped through the surface of the Bell Auditorium's roof, dripping into the backstage area near some electrical equipment. A matinee Mamma Mia! show had to be called off and $31,000 in tickets refunded.

Repairs under way by Two State Thomson Roofing should fix the problem, said Mr. Jones, Global Spectrum's man-in-charge in Augusta. The cost of the work is about $49,000, but the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority only has to pay a $25,000 insurance deductible, with the claim also covering lost ticket sales.

Though comments were made at the last coliseum authority meeting about replacing the entire roof, Mr. Jones said he thinks regular maintenance can spare taxpayers that expense, which estimates put at $300,000 to $500,000.

A recent inspection by the complex's insurance company found that "the other roof areas at the Auditorium and (James Brown) Arena buildings are in normal condition for their age."

"Pretty much, in a sense, it's good that it happened," Mr. Jones said of the leak, which will have him keeping a closer eye on both roofs now, getting them checked once or twice a month. The arena roof needs patch work, he said.

The damage had actually been found months before the Mamma Mia! incident. After a November storm, the coliseum authority filed a claim and its insurance company, Affiliated FM, had both roofs inspected.

Beech Consulting Inc. did a site check Nov. 25 and found problems at the highest, southernmost section of the Bell's roof, which covers the stage area. The 4,400-square-foot, rubber-covered section includes an elevated rectangle with a pitched gable roof.

The inspector found areas that were "significantly to severely dislodged/distorted, missing altogether or cut open," according to his report. Then there were other "probable leakage areas" found on the James Brown Arena roof that weren't caused by the storm, but rather "related to the roof systems' initial installation or other prior activity."

Affliated FM's proposal for renewing its policy this year called for the authority to commit to a list of repairs to both roofs by June 1. That hasn't been done, but the company still plans to renew, authority attorney Ed Enoch said.

While the claim from the November storm was pending, the damaged section of the Bell roof was covered with two tarps. The high winds in January blew them out of place and allowed water to soak through the roof's surface and onto the Mamma Mia! stage, Mr. Jones said. The insurance company informed the authority that it would cover the damage a week after the second storm.

The ongoing repairs, which involve a new layer of vulcanized rubber, should be finished this week. Coliseum authority Chairman Richard Isdell said the building and grounds committee plans to go up on the roof Wednesday to inspect its condition.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or


The two buildings that comprise the Augusta civic center complex are getting up there in years, but General Manager Monty Jones says that once repairs are made to the Bell Auditorium, both roofs will be in good condition.


Year built: 1940 (as the Municipal Auditorium)

Age of roof: 19 years

Roof warranty status: Four years past its 15-year warranty but covered by insurance


Year built: 1979 (as the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center)

Age of roof: 14 years

Roof warranty status: One year left on its 15-year warranty

Source: Augusta civic center complex General Manager Monty Jones; Augusta Chronicle archives