ASU: Schaefer Center renovations on schedule
The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts is expected to make its debut at this year's An Appalachian Summer Festival in July, Appalachian State University officials recently confirmed.
The facility, formerly known as Farthing Auditorium, has been undergoing extensive renovations since last fall, funded privately with a $7 million gift from Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer, owners of Westglow Resort and Spa.
"We deserve a performing arts center worthy of the quality of entertainment we have had in recent years, and we expect that with the new improvements, we will attract even bigger and better acts," said Bonnie Schaefer, who also serves on An Appalachian Summer Festival's advisory board, in a statement.
The improvements address issues of safety, accessibility and enhancement of the performance experience.
A new wing is currently being constructed adjacent to the lobby area, which will house an elevator to the balcony level, additional restrooms, office space and a concessions area.
Crews recently completed the re-sloping of the auditorium floor, which improves sightlines and visibility of the stage from all seating areas on the orchestra level.
"It's just amazing to see the difference," Susan Pettyjohn, vice chancellor for university advancement, told the ASU Board of Trustees' Business Affairs Committee last month. "Especially the floor. We knew that the sight lines were bad."
Other improvements include a new acoustical and sound system, improved access to seats via two aisles intersecting the orchestra level seats, a mechanized orchestra pit and cosmetic upgrades to the lobby and performance hall.
Pettyjohn said the project is on schedule for completion this summer, with the first event at the venue to take place July 18. "That's our kickoff event," she said.
Artists confirmed for the 2013 An Appalachian Summer Festival -- a monthlong celebration of the arts at multiple campus venues -- include country stars The Band Perry, singer Idina Menzel, singer and guitarist Boz Scaggs and the Carolina Ballet.