Carter Barron Amphitheatre
As the result of a recent structural assessment, the National Park Service has determined that the Carter Barron Amphitheatre stage has structural deficiencies and cannot safely support the weight of performances. This means there will not be concerts or other performances at the Carter Barron this summer.
We know how much the community loves the Carter Barron, and we are working to get it back in action as soon as possible. We invite you to join us for concerts at Fort Dupont Park’s Summer Theatre while we address this important safety issue.
We will continue to share information as we have it. Updates will be posted here on our website.
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FAQsWhat makes up the stage?
The amphitheatre’s stage is made of concrete covered with wood. The stage is also part of a larger structure, making the stage itself the roof of the dressing rooms below.
How did you find out/decide that no one can use the stage?
In 2014, the National Park Service completed a condition assessment report for the Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Engineers took cores of the concrete (just like we’d take cores out of ice or trees) and tested them. Those tests showed that the the concrete that makes up the stage “is in generally good condition” despite some rust and cracks from water. The 2014 report did not look at how the structure responds to stress, like earthquakes, and how much weight it can support.
Based on the results of the 2014 report, we contracted with an engineering firm to conduct that structural assessment of the stage. The park received their report in February 2017. The engineers compared the amphitheatre stage’s original design with current building codes and determined that the structure is subjected to forces and stresses it isn’t designed to handle, even without people or equipment on it. The stage cannot support weight other than a person walking across it, which means the stage cannot safely support performances.
What does the report say?
The report shows that the stage cannot support weight of 150 pounds per square foot, which is the amount required by current building codes. It recommends that the NPS stop using the stage immediately until it can be replaced or strengthened and repaired.
You can see the full report on our website in the “Management” section.
How can you fix the stage?
The engineering report has identified several preliminary options for fixing the stage:
While we do not have exact figures at this time, to rehabilitate the amphitheatre stage is estimated to cost between $520,000 and $620,000. The carbon fiber option is estimated to cost between $460,000 and $560,000. We do not know what the temporary shoring would cost, as the shoring would need to be designed first. In each case, we would need to apply for special National Park Service funding, as the park’s annual budget cannot cover these costs.
Which option are you pursuing, and why?
We investigated options, including short- and long-term repairs, and determined that rehabilitating the stage (Option 3) is the best choice. This option would ensure that the amphitheatre meets all current codes and is accessible for all, and it would last for 75 to 100 years.
We remain committed to finding solutions to preserve this amphitheatre and will keep you informed as we move forward.
Why wasn’t this fixed previously?
We only learned of the actual condition of the stage when we received the structural assessment in February 2017.
The National Park Service upgraded parts of the amphitheatre in 2004, including the area where the audience sits. We did this using $1 million from the DC Sparkle fund. However, these upgrades did not include the stage. We did complete a design to rebuild the stage at that time, but did not have funding for construction. We are reviewing those designs now and hope that we can still use them (with minor updates for current code and accessibility), which would save time and money.
Directions: The Carter Barron Amphitheatre is located at 4850 Colorado Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20011, near the intersection 16th Street and Colorado Avenue.
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Last updated: March 29, 2017