Despite the record-breaking snowfall, the Aquarium of Boise’s roof is holding up.
Over the summer, engineers discovered excessive moisture from the aquarium’s tanks had weakened the flat roof, making it unsafe.
With a record snowfall blanketing the Treasure Valley — and the aquarium’s roof — the aquarium, located at 64 N. Cole Road, closed on Tuesday.
“The roof is holding up OK,” said Nathan Hall, marine biologist. “At last check, there are 13 inches of snow on the roof. We are following our engineer’s recommendations as well as the Aquarium of Boise’s policy regarding the roof.”
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Hall said the engineer recommended that the aquarium remain closed until at least Monday to allow time for the snow to melt.
“We have been getting a lot of calls and people showing up at the Aquarium,” he said. “We have been doing our best to get the word out regarding the temporary closure and when we are looking to reopen again.”
The aquarium is home to sharks, stingrays, various fish and marine creatures, and reptiles and birds. Replacing the roof must be done in phases over several months to protect the creatures and people inside.
The building’s owner, Levison Properties of Ketchum, sued the aquarium in November to start the eviction process, saying the aquarium would not accept responsibility for repairing the roof. That case is pending.
Aquarium officials met with the city’s building inspection manager, Bob Archibald, in mid-November to discuss the roof’s issues. Archibald told the Statesman in late November that aquarium officials agreed that until the roof is repaired, the aquarium will close for winds 50 mph or greater, rainfall exceeding one-quarter of an inch or snowfall greater than 1 inch.
Aquarium Director Joni Sullivan told the Statesman then that she thought the two sides had agreed on a plan to repair the roof. She also said the aquarium intended to pay for the repairs — it has opened an insurance claim — though how much and when had not been worked out.