The Lory Student Center theater at Colorado State University officially reopens to the public this week following an exhaustive effort to refurbish the building damaged in the July 28 flood.
The theater, originally built in 1962, will host a conference this weekend and will feature its first film series since the flood, beginning with "Cool Hand Luke" on Jan. 23.
In the six months following the disaster, the prominent venue for student activities on campus underwent a major restoration, said Martha Blood, Lory Student Center director.
"The theater restoration represents a major accomplishment in the overall renovation project for Lory Student Center," Blood said. "The theater is an important part of the campus community, so it feels really good to make it available once again to students and staff."
Crews remodeled the Green Room and completely restored the theater stage, where more than 14 feet of water accumulated during the flood. Restoration experts also removed and dismantled 440 cast-iron seats, which were installed when the theater opened. The chairs were reupholstered, repainted and restored to original condition. The 220 balcony seats were unharmed during the flood and did not need restoration, Blood said.
The theater also has new carpet and paint. Theater employees expect a new stage curtain and Steinway piano to arrive next month. Restoration of the theater’s 1927 Wurlitzer pipe organ is under way and should arrive on campus this semester. The thousands of pipes that are part of the organ will undergo an extensive cleaning before the organ is reinstalled, Blood said.
In addition to the theater, Colorado State’s new bookstore also reopened in the same space it previously occupied in the student center this week. Meanwhile, recovery efforts continue in the remaining 80,000 square feet in the student center’s lower level. In August, a committee composed of 22 students, faculty and other university employees held public meetings to gather input on what kinds of services and amenities the new space should include. The first phase of construction is scheduled to begin in the north end of the student center in February, Blood said.
"Although the flood was devastating, it gave us a rare opportunity to design the student center in a way that will offer more services and amenities than we had before," Blood said. "When completed, the new lower level of Lory Student Center will be a much more open and inviting place for students."
Designs call for new space for student media, office of community services, student organizations, an outdoor recreation center, bike repair shop, three restaurants, a convenience store and copy center. Blood said the lower level also will include an information desk, video arcade, cyber cafe and more gathering space for students.
The Lory Student Center remodeling will be implemented in phases so that students have access to the new areas as soon as they are completed, Blood said. The entire project is scheduled for completion this summer.