Circus Juventas back in business after bleacher collapse


St. Paul's youth circus school is back in business this week after the city gave them the OK to resume operations following the bleacher collapse during their final performance.

Circus Juventas was ordered to close by the city after the bleachers holding 450 spectators collapsed as the crowd stood to applaud the performance. Several were taken to the hospitals and many others suffered minor injuries. The school had to remain closed until all safety inspections were passed.

The school was given the OK in a Sept. 3 letter from the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Director Michael Hahm. The letter said they need bleachers and insurance passed inspection.

The school had been assembling their bleachers twice a year without getting a city inspection. They had only been inspected once in 2006 when they were first purchased. Those bleachers have been condemned by the city and new bleachers are in place.

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"We are grateful for the city's approval of our resuming programming for our students," said Circus Juventas Executive Director Dan Butler, who added that several hundred students had already registered this week for classes scheduled to resume Sept. 19. "The inspections confirm that the safety protocols and procedures in place since the organization's founding 15 years ago are set at the highest levels."