Plans for College Center theater put on hold

The college’s strategic plan to convert the College Center into a “corner for the arts” is currently on hold, due to the initial cost estimates for the entire project.
However, the college plans to complete the project on schedule, and should be completed by fall of 2016.
The college is trying to get reauthorization on the $3.5 million that was originally set for the start of this project. Even with the rise in the estimate, the renovations will not be put off for long, as the hope is to begin the construction on this project started up later this year, said Kent Barnds, and vice president of enrollment, communication and planning.
Barnds shared on the two different ways that funding for such a project comes to be, as each year the college designates $5 million dollars a year for projects: $2 million go towards renovations to residence halls, another $2 million goes to fine art facilities, and $1 million goes to other institutional resources. Fundraising is also going on to fund the renovations for the theater, as donors continue to make donations.
“This is a long term plan to improve the fine art facilities,” said Barnds “Bergendoff is bursting at the seams, everyone agrees on fixing the infrastructure in [Bergie], and everyone keeps falling all over each other–somebody has to move out.”
Jeff Coussins, a professor in the Theater Arts, explained more on what the changes consisted of:
Most of the renovations being made in the College Center will take place on the second and third floor as an extension of the theater department.The cafeteria on the second floor will be converted to a 260 to 280 seat fixed thrust theatre. The adjacent kitchen will become a scene shop and the west end of the second floor will be our lobby and department offices. Dressing rooms will be located on the west end of the second floor. The east wing on the third floor will contain a costume shop. The College Center Board Room will become the “Loft Theatre”
Among other additions, Coussens stressed the importance through email on the expansion of the theater department.
“A new theatre facility will attract more prospective students to our campus, increase our numbers of theatre majors and minors, allow us to produce better quality productions, and become a community destination for the live theatre performances,” said Coussens.
All of these renovations, once completed, will be accessible to the entire campus, as well as the outside community. The hope is to extend the proposal from Bergendoff Hall across 7th avenue and into the College Center, said Coussens.
Coussens agrees that the delays in the starting date were not entirely unexpected, considering the size of the project.
“The students, faculty and staff of the Theatre Arts Department are grateful to the Board of Trustees, the college administration, our generous donors, and our colleagues from departments and offices around campus for their amazing support of this very important project.” said Coussens.