Extreme Measures to Clean Off Pavilion Top

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

December 8, 2005

During the last snow storm the Charlottesville area received 4 inches of snow and much of it fell on the top of the new Charlottesville Pavilion downtown. The weight of the snow and ice is forcing management to do something about it before it rips.

When it was first built Charlottesville Pavilion officials thought when old man winter came they would just take the top off and put it back in time for the first spring concert. But it turns out that wasn't such a good idea after all.

"It's got a lifespan of about 12-15 years if you just put it up and leave it and you're going to cut about a third of that off by taking it up and down every year," said Kirby Hutto, a Charlottesville Pavilion spokesperson.

They even thought of getting a heating system that would melt the snow away. But pavilion official said that would be too much money.
So when the first snow flakes of the season landed on the roof of the pavilion on Monday, officials decided the next best thing would be to hire people to clean it off.

"We have a crew on call that is going to physically get up on the roof and knock the snow off," said Hutto.

Along came a crew of six men who seemed like they'd be working under the big top rather than on top of it.

"We have to go up on the roof and make sure all the safety lines are secure and ready to go and once the snow comes in we have to go up there and take it off," said Lawrence Knox.

This Richmond group of beam walkers, are going to harness themselves on the top of the pavilion each time there is snow in the forecast. Even though it's risky, Pavilion Officials feel this is the most cost-effective way to go.

"Our architects, our engineers have been involved in putting together this plan and we feel real comfortable that we're real on top of the situation here. Literally on top of the situation," said Hutto.

Pavilion officials say they are also concerned about people getting hit by falling ice or snow and that is another reason why they feel it is in their best interest to clean off the roof thoroughly. If an accident were to happen at the Pavilion, a representative of the City of Charlottesville says that the city wouldn't be held responsible.

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