The hall has undergone many renovations since its opening in 1900, but the stage floor has never been replaced. Work on the maple wood flooring, which, according to the paper has "an almost mystical reputation" due to its contribution to Symphony Hall's storied acoustics, started in July. Problems with the century-old floor reportedly include peeling paint, pockmarks from instruments and boards that squeak or are near to buckling.
The Globe reports that Symphony Hall officials learned their lesson from Carnegie Hall's 1986 renovation, during which a layer of concrete was poured beneath the stage floor and never removed, damaging the acoustics. (The concrete at Carnegie was found and removed in 1995.)
BSO managing director Mark Volpe told the paper that the decision to replace the floor, expected to cost $250,000, was driven by "safety considerations," adding, "People ask me, 'Why are you replacing the floor now?' A better question is 'What took us so long?'"
The BSO will follow the example of historic European concert halls, such as the Musikverein in Vienna and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, which have successfully replaced their floors with wood similar to the original. Symphony Hall will use maple of the same shape and thickness as the original, according to the Globe.
Al De Bonis of Wood Advisory Services, which is consulting on the project, told the paper, "The idea was to learn about and evaluate what we currently have and to replace it with materials as close as possible to what's worked so well for more than a century."
The orchestra has saved the floorboards and reportedly plans to polish and sell small pieces as souvenirs.