Lerner Theater awaiting $1 million approval from the city council

NOW: Lerner Theater awaiting $1 million approval from the city council


ELKHART, Ind -- The Lerner Theater HVAC system needs a repair that could cost the city $1 million.

The Lerner's latest expense is an undersized HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning), which will be up for a vote by the city council on Monday October 4th, for an issue that the city says was found over  the summer.

"We have a few units that are failing and one that has failed completely," said City's Director of Communication Corinne Straight.

There are a total of ten units that make up the HVAC system inside the Lerner and officials say they'll need to be in good running order before the colder weather sets in.

"The building that is the size, and scale, and capability of the Lerner, it is a financial investment year after year. It is not an inexpensive building to maintain but as a city facility that provides amazing services of entertainment and education to our community, we know that that investment has to continue," said Straight.

The numbers say that during the renovation to the Lerner ten years ago, the investment was over $16 million dollars.

Since 2019 alone, HVAC issues the venue have cost the city more than $50,000.

City councilman David Henke says the high repair costs are actually due to a lack of proper maintenance not because the system itself is too small.

"It is my opinion the system was not maintained. We can talk about hail damage and again subjective things, but we can’t talk about undersized systems, because we know that not to be true," said City Councilman David Henke.

Until things are confirmed and a vote on paying for the $1 million replacement takes place, the city says it has the citizens best interest as the amount of theater events increase across the U.S.

"Now as shows are coming back, everyone is ready to enjoy. We just had the price is right here on Friday night it was very well attended, very positive feedback. So those are the type events we are excited to come back and the mayor is excited to see those come back as well," said Straight.

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