New Coffman Union theater will delay reopening 2 months

Brad Ellingson

Students looking forward to the reopening of Coffman Union will have to wait longer.

The Board of Regents Facilities Committee met Thursday to discuss the fiscal year 2002 capital budget amendments, including Coffman.

University officials asked for a $580,000 increase in the Coffman budget to help the development of a state-of-the-art theater.

The funding for the Coffman theater will push back the completion date by two months, said Eric Kruse, vice president for University Services.

The money will go toward
dismantling columns and beams, which would obstruct the audience’s view.

“This would allow us to get full benefits of the 400-seat theater,” said Robert Jones, vice president for campus life and vice provost of faculty and academic personnel.

University officials are shooting for the entire renovation to be complete in December 2002.

Also, the amendment to the budget will increase the current $70.8 million budget to approximately $71.4 million.

“We feel it is well worth the investment,” Jones said.

University President Mark Yudof said the theater is important for students but questioned the timing of the amendment.

“I would have preferred it earlier in the project,” Yudof said.

The project will be funded primarily through student fees, Jones said.

Patrick Peterson, a Board of Regents student representative, said he was disappointed with the delay but said the renovation is needed.

While not everyone is pleased with the delay, many agree the theater is needed in Coffman.

“I think there is a shortage of places like this,” said Regent David Metzen.

– Brad Ellingson