Sensitive military information may still be inside the evacuated Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Among the guests this weekend were conventioneers at the Defense Information Services Agency Customer Partnership Conference and like the rest of the guests at Nashville's now-empty largest hotel, they were evacuated.
But somewhere in Opryland's convention space, their material remains, much of it classified.
At Friday's media update on the status of Gaylord's Nashville properties, hotel general manager Peter Weien said hotel officials had been in contact with the convention's organizers.
"They identified to us certain containers they are looking for," he said. "We don't know much."
Weien said restoration contractors and Gaylord staff are on the lookout for the containers, but right now, they have not begun the cleanup process in the area of the hotel where DISA was holding its event.
Asked if "serious-looking people" were inside the hotel, guarding the area where the material might be, Gaylord CEO Colin Reed offered a matter-of-fact no comment.
"We can't make any comments on serious-looking people," he said. In addition to the information on the potential of classified information stuck inside the flooded complex, Reed relayed information on convention and hotel bookings similar to what he shared with investors Friday morning. Gaylord officials were reticent to offer a timeline or price tag on the restoration already underway at Opryland, saying they were hopeful at least the hotel will be up and running before year's end.
There was also little new information on the future of the Grand Ole Opry House. The stage at the 4,400-seat performance hall was covered in two feet of water and there may have been damage to country music memorabilia stored at the iconic facility.
Nevertheless, Gaylord COO David Kloeppel said "the show must go on," with Opry dates scheduled at the Ryman Auditorium and other venues in Nashville. Both Kloeppel and Reed praised the work of Opry staff for preserving much of the historical items stored there, but said there's no way to tell what's been lost or what's restorable.