BUTTE — Butte is ready to spend half a million dollars on a fire suppression system for the Mother Lode Theatre in Uptown, an investment the city believes is necessary to preserve the historic building.
“We see the damage fire can do to buildings and we treasure that Mother Lode building, so we’d like to see it protected as well as we can,” said Butte Government Building Manager Pat Holland.
The theater was built in 1923 and was never equipped with a sprinkler or alarm system. The Butte Fire Marshal has been pushing the county to install a suppression system since many public events are held there.
“It’s so important for the preservation, for really Butte’s last historic theater. You know, we’ve lost the Irish Times, we lost the M&M this summer, so being able to have a fire suppression put into this building is so important,” said Jocelyn Dodge, the president for the Butte Center for the Performing Arts.
While the county secured grants and other funding, it has not received any bids from contractors for this project as of October. Officials believe labor shortages and high prices for materials have prevented many contractors from submitting bids for large projects.
“So, I’ve had companies call me and say they don’t have the manpower to do a job whether it be one thing or another,” said Holland.
Oh, for a muse of fire. Well, the last thing the Mother Lode Theater wants is a fire, but they're confident the county will come up with a good contract to put in a fire suppression system so the historic building stays safe.
“You know, it can seem a little daunting, but there are companies out there that do work with these historic buildings, so I’m very confident that the county’s going to be able to find somebody to bid on this and be able to ensure protection into the future,” said Dodge.