The state-funded project was initiated in 2014 but was repeatedly halted until completion this past August. The space was increased by 55 percent to 106,000 square feet, according to a previous Northern Star article.Meanwhile, there's a new video board in the money-losing convocation center.
Anahi Mondragon, junior theatre arts major and design technician with the School of Theatre and Dance, said there are many problems in the day-to-day use of the scene shop and performance spaces.
“The only theater space that had anything done to it was the Black Box,” Mondragon said. “We have these old theater chairs, which are super [crappy] and moldy; they were not renovated, and they were not upgraded in any way, so we’re still working with a lot of old stuff in that respect.”
Mondragon said most of the issues have been centered around the O’Connell Theater, which remains untouched after renovations were said to be done. She also said technicians have continued efforts, including tearing up and reinstalling stage flooring, patching holes in the ceiling and walls, getting rid of raccoons and removing mold.
Somehow, do-it-yourself is the way they roll in the theater department. "Kevin Nedberg, scene shop supervisor and assistant technical director of design and technology within the School of Theatre and Dance, said the work done on the floor could easily cost $10,000 if done by the original contractors. He said the scene shop’s reinstallation estimates $5,000 in comparison."
On top of everything else, there's a buddy system for people working late on their sets. "[Nedberg] said he feels obligated to escort technicians to their vehicles in teams of two due to recent safety concerns on campus." In part that's because there's no money to keep the sidewalk and parking lot lighting in a state of good repair.