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Holly to get temporary structural roof support

Support is on its way for a weakened roof truss at the Holly Theater.

It may happen next week, said Brett King of Marquess and Associates, who was hired by the owner to engineer a temporary structural support.

He said the temporary support under the truss will resemble scaffolding and will buy time for a proper inspection of the building.

Then we can solve the problem permanently, he said ' if the owner can afford it.

Arthur Alfinito, the building's owner, had requested three days from Wednesday to shore up a failing truss, a basic support element for the four-story brick building's roof and walls.

I don't think we're going to make three days, said King. A contractor has not yet been hired, he said, adding It takes a crew of guys several days.

Tenants moved out of the Holly Theater building Thursday. Medford building safety officials issued a 24-hour notice to vacate on Wednesday. This came after King checked the building last week at Alfinito's request, discovered the damaged truss and notified Medford officials.

The truss itself is 75 feet long, said King, adding that it's one of six spaced about 18 feet apart. Some of the wood in the base of the truss is splintered.

The cause of the splintering is unknown, though sometimes such things are just caused by time, King said.

The Holly Theater, on the corner of Sixth and Holly streets, was built in 1930 and hosted everything from live entertainment to first-run movies until its closure in 1986.

Alfinito, who purchased the building in 1996, has been unavailable for comment.

Chris Reising, Medford building safety director, said Alfinito asked for approximately three days to put the truss support in place so officials could thoroughly inspect the structure.

Reising, who saw an Indiana Jones film when it played in the Holly Theater, said he's willing to give a slight extension if needed, but it's important to stabilize the building as soon as possible.

The reason time is of the essence is if the building were to collapse, it wouldn't stay contained, he said, adding that it could pose a danger to people and property in the area. We need to have it so it's safe to occupy.

King said that until an inspection and bid are performed, the owner doesn't know if he will be able to afford a renovation. If it's not repaired, the Holly Theater faces demolition within as few as 60 days.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail