Theater to be tuned up for maintenance crew

Brett Martin

Plans are underway at Facilities Management to convert an old theater in Scott Hall into storage space for the maintenance department.
The theater served as an outlet for the School of Music’s opera productions and recitals until 1985, when the music department moved to Ferguson Hall.
“It’s kind of sad” to see the theater converted, said Nancy Wiswell, senior secretary for the music school. “I have real fond memories of the building.”
The theater in Scott Hall, built in the early 1900s, seated about 500 people. The Ted Mann Concert Hall, currently used for music production, seats 1,250.
Wayne Nealis, communication manager for Facilities Management, said the renovation will be divided into two phases. The first phase — which will cost $100,000 to $150,000 — consists of turning the stage into workshop space. The second phase, although not yet budgeted, will see the seating area remodeled into a storage room for maintenance workers’ tools, parts and supplies.
“This is a routine remodel,” said Nealis, adding that many similar projects are underway all over campus.
Nealis said the theater, which sat empty and unused for years, was approved for use by Facilities Management in 1993. After engineers conducted load tests on the theater, they determined the structure was sound and that maintenance could proceed with its plans.
University maintenance will carry out the first phase, which is set to begin within three weeks and expected to be completed by the end of June, said Greg Welter, operations supervisor for Facilities Management.
The second phase will not begin until 1997, Welter said, adding that an outside contractor will do the work.
Facilities Management was restructured in 1991 into seven divisions, each covering a specific zone of the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Each division is responsible for meeting its own storage and utility space needs. Each division has separate facilities, Nealis said, because smaller groups get to know their specified area on campus better.
“It’s hard to get space on campus” for storage, Nealis said.