On Saturday, February 4, 2017, the roof over the auditorium of The Silver collapsed under the extraordinary weight of ice and snow. We are grateful to our manager, Willis Houck, for noticing the fallen ceiling tiles and water in the auditorium, and for the precise communication between Willis and our executive director, Carolyn Maier. Because of the collective effort, there were no injuries during the collapse, and no other structures were affected by debris. We extend our appreciation to these individuals, and to the Missoula Fire Department.
For safety reasons, we had an excavator pull down the bowing south wall of the auditorium on Saturday night. Our beloved theatre is now two separate, broken structures. The remaining front structure of the theatre holds the newly remodeled galleries, offices, staircase, and open space, and, the remaining back structure holds part of the stage and the green room.
To our great joy, one of our most recent and cherished projects Forging Resilience and Capturing Moments: Living Life with Parkinson’s, featuring the Tree of Resilience, was undamaged and has been carefully moved to a safe location for storage.
We express our heartfelt sentiment that in the short time we hosted community events as The Silver, we experienced many genuine moments there. From the VIBE festival to Summit for Parkinson's events and many other gatherings, we were truly just moments away from a steady stream of arts and cultural events and workshops.
The theater was poised to be the main venue of this year's Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, due to begin in just two weeks. The Silver Foundation is coming forward to help the festival financially in support of their relocation within the community.
As the walls have come down, we are evaluating the structural integrity of the remaining parts of the building to see if salvaging The Silver is an option. We aren't going to say we weren't saddened standing there looking at the wreckage when the roof fell in, we most certainly were. But the theater is more than a building; it is a vision that burns from our mission and a spirit that rises from deep in our hearts.
Thank you to the individuals and organizations who have come forward offering us support. We will provide an update when we know more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 15, 2017
The Silver Foundation would like to provide our community with an update regarding the condition and future of the Silver Theatre.
Following the collapse of the auditorium ceiling, we have been working with a demolition crew and the City of Missoula to ensure safety needs with the remaining structures, gas lines, and neighboring buildings are being addressed. We secured a demolition permit and have undergone asbestos testing. Additionally, Northwestern Energy has capped and rerouted the gas line so there is no longer natural gas access to the property.
While the front part of the building retains some structural integrity, we have decided to proceed with a full demolition. The demolition of the two remaining parts of our building began yesterday, and will last into next week. All safety precautions will continue to be taken with the street, neighboring buildings, and alley during the demolition process.
We extend our deep gratitude to the Missoula community for their continued support, friendship, and understanding during this difficult time.