The stained glass windows of the theater at Brook Run Park are being removed, but no set date for the complete demolition of the building has been set.
On Oct. 6, workers were seen removing the stained glass windows from the building. City Council voted Sept. 12 to spend up to $272,000 to tear down the structure. The council voted to spend $20,000 to save and store the stained glass windows.
“The stained glass structures are being repaired and disassembled, and removal will take place over the next couple of weeks,” said city spokesperson Bob Mullen.
“Demolition of the theater building will begin after the stained glass structures are out, [but] there is no specific date set yet,” Mullen added. “Based on experience of demolition of other buildings at Brook Run, the presence or discovery of asbestos at the site will likely be revealed in areas during the demolition process.”
The low bid to bulldoze the building came in at $147,000 but a contingency fund of $125,000 was added to the final amount. Brent Walker, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the contingency funding was needed due to unknown asbestos levels.
The city plans to store the stained glass structures on city park property, he said.
The theater building, owned by the city as part of park property, is the last remaining structure of 17 buildings in the park, including the hospital building, that were once part of the Georgia Retardation Center. The Georgia Retardation Center was closed in the late 1990s.
Danny Ross, who led a years-long effort as president of the Brook Run Conservancy to try to save the theater and have it renovated into a performing arts and community center, said the stained glass windows were designed and handmade by monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.
Many council members questioned why no money was raised for the project since talk to save the theater began as far back as 2011. At the City Council retreat in February, council members said it was time to put the issue to rest.
Ross told the council the Brook Run Conservancy did not raise any money for the project because it needed to have the city’s official support and vote for time to do so. The conservancy also asked the city to contribute up to $2 million of the $4 million parks settlement the city received from DeKalb County alast year to renovating the theater.