Grand Ole Opry back in Oct. after $17 million in flood repairs

Wed Jun 2, 2010 7:07pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nashville's country music mecca the Grand Ole Opry is expected to reopen on October 1 after a $17 million renovation and clean-up to repair damage from flooding in May, the Opry's owners said on Wednesday.

Gaylord Entertainment said the Opryland Hotel and Convention center would reopen on November 15. But it said it was cutting 1,743 jobs at the Opryland hotel starting next week.

The Grand Ole Opry, home to country music concerts, radio broadcasts and country award shows for some 75 years, was under more than 2 feet of water after a deluge that triggered flash flooding in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi in early May.

Gaylord said the stage, dressing rooms, retail store, curtains, mechanical and power systems all needed to be replaced at the building, which has housed the Grand Ole Opry since 1974.

At the Opryland Hotel, the lobby, three restaurants and 117 guest rooms are being renovated. The power plant also needs replacing.

Gaylord said the total cost to rebuild its flood-hit properties in Nashville would be between $215 million and $225 million.

The Grand Ole Opry began in 1925 as a weekly radio show and has hosted performers ranging from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton to Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood in a series of buildings over the last 75 years.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Alex Dobuzinskis)

<p>The Grand Ole Opry House is surrounded by flood waters from heavy rains from the weekend in Nashville, Tennessee in this May 4, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/M. J. Masotti Jr.</p>