Arena lobby roof no match for snow crash

Terry Charles

terry charles | behind the stage | june 2018

Well, last month I wrote about weathering the snowstorm of a lifetime. Only two days after I wrote my May column, a huge chunk of wet, heavy snow slid off of the roof of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena and crashed through an adjoining lobby roof. I mean it crashed!

It happened late Friday afternoon, April 20. I left work about 4:45 and it happened within five minutes after I walked out the door. Heck, it may have crashed before I left the parking lot! I was already on my way to Kaukauna to have dinner with friends when I got the message from my boss. I figured I'd be getting calls from the media after I found out the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department responded with squad cars and fire trucks. The fact is, I never received any calls from the media Friday night. So I went to work Saturday morning to draft a statement about the incident and make myself available for interviews.

As you can see in the photo on this page, the entire inner lobby is exposed to the outside. Later that night a second batch of snow came down and crashed through the conference room roof of the Green Bay Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. Those folks are still not in their offices as of late May. All of us in the PMI Entertainment Group administrative office, which is very near to the roof incident, missed three days of working in our office. We didn't have data lines for a few days because our I-T department needed to move them. Also, as heavy equipment came in to clear out the debris we stayed out of the building for safety reasons.

As of this writing, the roof has still not been replaced. The cost is estimated to be more than $250,000. The new roof will have to be sturdier than the old one to withstand that same snow load should it happen again. The majority of the bill will be paid by insurance. Brown County officials think the project will be done by mid to late July.

The good news for us is of course no one got hurt. We also have fewer events in the arena this time of season. However, a few events were affected. We moved the National Cornhole Championship to Shopko Hall instead of the arena. The WAMO state dart tournament was scheduled to be in Shopko Hall and the arena. The dart boards normally in the arena were switched to the Resch Center. We had a spa sale scheduled in the arena that had to be canceled and it ended up moving to Appleton. A circus scheduled for early June was going to stay in the arena, but in late May it was decided to move it to Shopko Hall instead.

The irony in all of this is the Brown County Arena and other parts of the complex are tentatively scheduled to be torn down in about a year from now. The county approved plans last year to build a new $90 million-plus expo center on the property. In the meantime, we need the roof to be replaced to do business as usual in the arena for the next year to be able to fulfill our contract requirements with Brown County.

Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.

Stay up-to-date

Sign up for a monthly digest of everything new in GB.