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Campus News

Friday, February 18, 2011

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Auditorium renovations on hold Delayed: Insufficient

ater, found in the administration building, would cost $1.5 million, said John Russell, director of Facilities Planning and Management. The main problem with the building is a condemned rigging system, which would cost $35,000 to replace, Russell said. Even if the school could procure that amount, Russell

said, they would have to renovate the rest of the building funds, other projects as well. “The problem is, once you Scott Dykowski start to spend that money, you Editor-in-Chief have to do everything else in the building to meet current The University AuditoLife Safety and [American with rium’s main use is on hold beDisabilities Act] codes,” Russell cause of the high cost to renosaid. vate it. ADA requires the university The renovations of the theto fix everything from the parking lot to the chair, Russell said. That includes the entire administration building, adding $1.2 million to the total cost. “If that building were separated from the rest of the administration building by three feet, we’d be having a different conversation,” said Dr. Kevin Lambert, dean of Liberal and Fine Arts. “But that’s Photos by Tim Lester reality.” Russell said The University Auditorium’s rigging system was condemned in 2008.

in the theater alone the renovations include seating, adding emergency, exit and catwalk lighting, fire proofing and redoing the orchestra pit. “It just kind of snowballed, and we haven’t found a donor to put up that kind of money to repair the theater,” Russell said. “With the budget cuts, we don’t have the money for it.” Executive Director of Business Services Greg Pecina said the money that the university could spend on renovations is instead updating classrooms. “You have to decide as a campus, do we spend money on that or do we invest in something else,” Pecina said. “Everyone wants projectors in the ceiling, they want the smart podiums, they want white boards instead of green boards and they don’t want to sit in those little tablet seating anymore. They want to sit at tables. “We’ve been spending the money we do get from the state for that purpose, and that would be the same kind of money that you would use to repair on the auditorium.” The university spends

$250,000 to upgrade about five classrooms annually, affecting about 1,000 students, Pecina said. Special Events rents out the auditorium to small groups, who use a safe portion of the stage. “What we can use it for is, when the drape is down, there’s a curvature in the front that you could fit a podium on,” Pecina said. University Theater Director Dr. William Doll said when they stopped using the auditorium in 2008, they lost a valuable asset. “It hurt musicals in particular because the persimmon stages are designed for that,” Doll said. “It’s how most Broadway stages are.” The acting and musical groups now use the modular theater in the Education and Fine Arts Center. There are plans to build a new performing arts center on campus, Lambert said, but that timeline is unknown. The university added the auditorium to the administration building in 1974. They built the administration building in 1942.

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