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Capen to receive ‘facelift’

The Capen Auditorium as students know it is about to undergo major renovations during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Plans for the auditorium’s revamps have been in talks for almost a year, including details such as the design work and funding from the state.

“This is a facelift that is definitely due,” Greg Alt, acting vice president of Finance and Planning, said of the auditorium’s makeover.

Renovations in the plan primarily include seating, carpeting and flooring, lighting, temperature adjustments and painting, along with interior and structural changes being made. The auditorium’s sound system will also be replaced.

Other changes in the project will include electrical, mechanical and plumbing system upgrades.

Gov. Pat Quinn granted a total of $5.9 million in Central Illinois construction projects, with the Capen project being one of the five contracts.

The project has a budget of $1.27 million, funded by the state.

Among Bloomington, other contracts awarded include Johnco Construction, Inc. of Mackinaw for general construction and PIPCO Companies Ltd. of Peoria.

Contracts will be finalized Aug. 1 and work will begin that month, with completion in late June 2015.

“[Capen Auditorium] will be ready for class in fall 2015,” Alt said.

The auditorium is pretty dated and has probably been renovated before, he added.

The auditorium, used primarily for lectures, is located in Edwards Hall.

However, several other events take place in the venue, including Capen Cinema movie lineup, which, during the fall and spring semesters, shows each week.

Capen has also played host to McLean County India Association (MCIA) youth talent shows in the past.

The auditorium was named after Charles L. Capen in 1928. Capen had served on the Normal School Board.

“It’s the largest lecture class on campus, holding about 700 students,” Alt said.

Since Capen will not be available for student use this year, ISU has already signed a lease with the Normal Theater for larger classes and will remain in doing so for the next school year.

In addition to showings of movies, the Theater will also be the location for many students to go to class while the project is taking place.

The Illinois Capital Development Board will be overseeing the Capen project. It is also a part of the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program.

The opportunity to renovate the classroom will help make it “more modern” for future students, Alt said.

(Zack Applehans / Photo Editor) Capen Auditorium, located in Edwards Hall, is going to be renovated over the next year to give it a more modern feel.

(Zack Applehans / Photo Editor)
Capen Auditorium, located in Edwards Hall, is going to be renovated over the next year to give it a more modern feel.

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