Grewen Auditorium Sees Major Changes


[Photo by Sebastian Fredette]

Sylvi Diamond, Staff Writer

Construction began on Grewen Auditorium early this summer to make the space reflect the ideals of Le Moyne, according to Director of Planning and Construction Fouad Dietz.

According to Dietz, the last renovation on Grewen Auditorium was at least 25 years ago, making it long overdue. “It was pretty important to get into Grewen Auditorium to get it to reflect who we really are and what we’re about,” says Dietz. Le Moyne aims in its ideals to promote community spirit, which is a large part of the goal of this project. The auditorium is used often for meetings and instruction and is often the first place prospective students see when they come for informational sessions and campus tours.

More direct goals of the project were improved lighting, technology, and furniture. The stage has been brought to floor-level, three windows have been added at the back of the room looking over the fields, and the existing windows were returned to their original size from when the building was built. Due to the highly specialized nature of the auditorium, the project cost stands near $1.5 million.

Members of vocal studios and other groups at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) often use this space for recitals and performances. Regarding the stage being brought to floor-level, former vocal student and senior Milanne Wischmeyer says, “I can see that causing heightened anxiety for a performer. I think an off-ground-level stage creates a barrier for a performer to be separated from an audience.”

Other groups such as the Student Government Association, Event Management and Fermata Nowhere also use Grewen Auditorium during the academic year. These groups have had to find other locations to meet during the construction.

There are many locations on campus for these groups to meet, but according to Graduate Student Tino Laterza who works for Event Management, “it’s tough in the sense that it’s a whole venue that’s offline… so it’s been really tough to schedule all of the different events.” Laterza said the Board of Trustees traditionally has met in Grewen Auditorium but will not be able to do so this semester due to the construction.

Before the project was approved, it was selected from a master plan, a guide for a list of projects on campus that need to be done during the year. The selection of a project depends on a variety of factors, “from having a donor that comes forward to help offset the costs for it, or a grant that becomes available, or a priority for a program, or a project that will resolve a Title IX inequity… there’s a multitude of reasons why a project moves forward,” says Dietz.

The project was scheduled for completion during the first couple of weeks of the academic year, but due to a delayed start in June after a conference for college counselors that took place in the auditorium, and late delivery of certain materials, the construction has been extended by two weeks and is expected to be completed at the end of September.