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Eisenhower Auditorium to Close for Renovations

by on February 11, 2020 2:32 PM

Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium will not host performances and events for about six months this year while the 44-year-old venue undergoes renovations and maintenance.

Work will take place from approximately June through November, during which time the box office and employee offices will remain open, according to a university news release. Eisenhower is expected to resume normal operations in December.

The building typically does not host performances in the summer, and the Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) will have a modified schedule of fall performances at other campus theaters and auditoriums. CPA's 2020-21 event schedule will be released in May.

Most of the work will be behind-the-scenes, such as mechanical systems upgrades and emergency lighting modernization. An abandoned cooling tower and enclosure will be converted to a performers' entry to the dressing area as part of accessibility improvements from the dressing area to the stage and exterior entrance.

A full roof replacement and some asbestos abatement are also scheduled to take place.

In 2015, Voith & Mactavish Architects completed a comprehensive assessment and prioritization of needs for a multi-phase improvement project at Eisenhower Auditorium. Previously completed work included stage floor repairs and fire curtain and rigging replacements.

Future phases, which are still to be determined, will further address maintenance backlog needs and capital improvements.

Opened in 1974, Eisenhower Auditorium has a seating capacity of 2,500 and hosts nearly 200 events per year.

“The importance of keeping this performance space in top condition is a primary goal of this phased renovation,” Bill Sitzabee, associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant, said in the news release. “We know the significant and central role that Eisenhower Auditorium plays in the cultural life of our university community, and we understand the need for expediency. However, more importantly, the need to preserve and upgrade this entertainment and gathering space is also a reality that we must address so that future long-term use of this facility is possible.”

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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