Members of the Fort Collins community and Colorado State University students, alumni, faculty and staff today celebrated the groundbreaking for the new concert hall at the University Center for the Arts complex.
Construction of the $7 million, 22,000-square-foot concert hall is scheduled for completion in May 2004. The hall will include seating for about 500 and some of the most advanced acoustical features in the region. The concert hall will be funded by $5 million in private funds with the remaining amount provided by the university.
Upon approval by the Board of Governors at its next meeting, the facility will be named the Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall. The $2 million centerpiece gift to the University Center for the Arts was made by the Griffin Foundation in memory of Edna Rizley Griffin, longtime advocate and benefactor of the performing arts including the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln Center. Other major donors making the construction of the concert hall possible include the Stryker Short Foundation, the Serimus Foundation, the Monfort Family Foundation, the Adolph Coors Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation and Bob and Joyce Everitt.
The concert hall will be used primarily for performances by the university’s music, theater and dance departments and as an educational facility for students. Other groups and organizations also will have the opportunity to use the hall.
"I think people will be amazed by the quality of the sound in the concert hall," said Tom Moss, manager of design and construction for Facilities Management. "We have hired acoustical engineers to help assure high-quality design and performance of this new venue. The design includes amphitheater-type architecture with walls, ceiling and seating that will provide the best sound possible."
The new concert hall is located on the northwest side of the historic Fort Collins High School at 1400 Remington St. one block east of the main campus. The building is a local landmark built in 1924 and well known for its classic architecture.
Colorado State purchased the former high school building in September 1997 for $4.1 million through funds appropriated by the Colorado General Assembly. The site includes about 14 acres of land and two main structures.
"We worked extensively with community and neighborhood groups, architects and students to develop plans that would enhance the original 1924 structure," said Brian Chase, director of Facilities Management. "The design and materials for the concert hall will be consistent with the look of the old Fort Collins High School columns and tower.
"The architect selected for this project has extensive experience in working with historic buildings. The plan honors the original structure not only through continuing its function as an educational facility, but also through thoughtful, integrated architecture."
The university already has planted flower gardens and completed an underpass connecting the main campus to the future University Center for the Arts – both features designed to highlight and enhance the main 1924 portion of the facility and support the overall master plan for the development of the University Center for the Arts.
While the old Fort Collins High School served the community for about 70 years from 1924 to 1995, Colorado State has many buildings that have served the institution for more than 100 years and plans to make the University Center for the Arts an important and permanent part of the campus. Other phases of the University Center for the Arts project will proceed as funding becomes available.