The work has begun

This house served as the Performing Arts Theme House.

In the Simpson College theatre department we use to joke that we would believe that the renovation project was really going to happen when the bulldozers pulled up to the door.  Well, last week the bulldozers showed up, and believe it, Blank Performing Arts Center is about to undergo its make over.  Of course work has been going on behind the scenes for many years to prepare for the renovation, but the tearing down of two houses on West Detroit signals the true beginning of the transformation of the building and the west end of campus.

The removal of these two houses will open up the entire block between “D” and “E” streets and will allow for more parking.  Okay parking spaces may not be the most dramatic

Preparing for the demolition.

Looking east on Detroit.

Looking north from Detroit Street.

or exciting part of the renovation, but anyone who has come to a performance or an athletic event on the west side of campus knows that parking is painfully limited.  These new parking spaces will certainly help alleviate some of the pre-show/pre-game stress of finding a place to park.

The next step in the project is the removal of the embankment between the parking area and the south side of the building.  The removal of this dirt will create space for the addition to the building and will open up the view from Detroit Street.  Rather than the theatre building being hidden behind a hill, it will be on grand display.  The design of the glass stairway at the very south end of the addition will be an attractive addition to campus.

The entire renovation project will take approximately ten months.  This is of course dependent on various circumstances including the weather–so let’s hope that things can dry out for a little while.  The project will add much needed classroom space, including a directing/acting/lighting laboratory, a design classroom, a seminar room, and a more traditional classroom.  The lobby will be expanded and both theatres will be made handicap accessible with a new elevator.  Pote Theatre will be refreshed with a new grand drape, handicap accessible seating, and a new lighting system.  More restrooms will be added on both the first and second floors making patrons much happier at intermission.

The sesquicentennial them for Simpson College is “Building on Our Traditions.”  It is appropriate then that now, during this sesquicentennial year, that construction is happening at campus.  The work has begun and the future of Theatre Simpson is looking bright.  Check out the Theatre Simpson Blog every once in awhile over the next ten months to see how the building project is progressing.


Hello world!

Welcome to the new Theatre Simpson blog!