Senior David Starry has been a member of the Innocent Men for five semesters. Having performed at least eight times in the Schofield Auditorium, he said it’s great that the facility will be seeing improvements beginning in May 2011.
“As far back as I know, that’s kind of been the place for a cappella groups to have their concerts and for that to finally be renovated, because it’s been about the same for however long … it’s really exciting,” he said.
On Monday evening Student Senate awarded the Schofield Auditorium renovation project an allocation of $125,000. The amount will be split and spread evenly between the next two fiscal years. The entire project will cost $784,811 and is to be covered by a variety of sources, including the University Senate and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
Executive Director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Kimera Way said she is “thrilled” that Student Senate passed the special allocation bill.
“(This project) is a great example of how different groups can work together to get things resolved,” she said.
Schofield Hall, constructed in 1916, was the first building on the UW-Eau Claire campus. It is the main administrative building and is home to offices such as Admissions, Multicultural Affairs and Career Services.
The auditorium is the largest fixed-seating theater on campus and hosted 135 performance events during the 2009-2010 school year. The renovation project includes improvements to seating, sound, lighting and aesthetics. Additions include a video wall projection system.
Director of Finance Commission Jacob Kampen said the renovations will significantly reduce the cost for student organizations that use the facility. Some of the costs students will no longer have to incur include a $400 equipment charge and a $200 room rental fee. Calling Schofield the “front door to our campus,” Kampen said the facility needed to be brought to the level of quality and attractiveness that the rest of the campus is at.
Jason Anderson, the Event Production Coordinator for the renovation project, said the “iconic building” is important because it is the first building that the majority of students are introduced to, as orientation begins in the Schofield Auditorium.
Starry agreed with Anderson, adding that The Forum events held in the auditorium also attract members of the Eau Claire community.
“It’s definitely one of the real high-traffic areas for the community,” he said. “Everybody that comes through the university has probably been through Schofield at one point in time.”
Way said that Schofield is also often the “only building that alumni, especially older generations, identify with.”
Beth Voermans, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1981, said while she did frequent Schofield to make payments, she most closely identifies with Phillips Hall and the library because she spent the most time there. However, she does think the Schofield renovations are going to positively impact the campus.
“I think it’s really important for UW-Eau Claire to be continually updating, renovating and building to continue to attract new students,” she said. “Also … to keep alumni interested in making contributions to the school.”
Anderson said construction on the project will begin following the May 2011 commencement ceremony. The entire project is slated for completion in August 2011.