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Auditorium repairs could cost city $80K

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — The City of Natchez has declared the failing air-conditioning system at the City Auditorium an “emergency” and could spend $60,000 to $80,000 to make repairs. Christ Life Church, which manages the city-owned auditorium, has rented a temporary unit for the past two weeks to keep the auditorium cool.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — The City of Natchez has declared the failing air-conditioning system at the City Auditorium an “emergency” and could spend $60,000 to $80,000 to make repairs. Christ Life Church, which manages the city-owned auditorium, has rented a temporary unit for the past two weeks to keep the auditorium cool.

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez has declared the failing air-conditioning system at the City Auditorium an “emergency” and could spend $60,000 to $80,000 to make repairs.

The city will replace one of two 60-ton air-conditioning units that Mayor Butch Brown estimates could cost up to $80,000.

“We’ve been doing patchwork on (the system) for the past two years,” Brown said Wednesday. “We’ve been operating for the past 12 to 14 months using just one single 60-ton section of the (system).”

Christ Life Church, which manages the city-owned auditorium, has rented a temporary unit for the past two weeks to keep the auditorium cool, the Rev. David Hale said.

“The unit that is in there, someone told me it’s gone about twice as long as most do, which has been fortunate,” Hale said. “But it’s probably time (to replace it.)”

Historic Natchez Tableaux audiences suffered through the heat during performances at the auditorium in March and earlier this month.

“The word stifling comes to mind,” said Iva Ward, Tableaux co-chair for the Natchez Garden Club.

Ward said the Tableaux made do because Floyd Gardner, Tableaux’s sound and lighting director, ventilated the building through open doors and placing fans inside, and added she is happy to see the city is repairing the air conditioning.

Brown said the air-conditioning unit should be replaced within approximately one month.

As part of its lease with the city, Christ Life Church pays $1,500 rent monthly into an account to be used for maintenance and repairs.

The church has leased the building for less than a year, so the rent paid so far will not cover the new air-conditioning unit.

Brown said the remaining funds needed will come out of the city’s public properties fund.