Renovations made to Grise Hall auditorium

The renovations for the new Grise Hall auditorium started over the 2016 Winter break and will be completely finished in the summer of 2017. Grise Hall’s Assistant Dean, Michelle Trawick said, “We are anxious to see what else the faculty and students tell us they would like to do next” with the renovations of the building.

Rebekah Alvey

Renovations on Grise Hall, which houses the Gordon Ford College of Business, auditorium were completed over winter break. The renovations were funded primarily through alumni donation. 

The auditorium is a multipurpose room, serving as a classroom and a place for guest speakers and student groups.

Several changes have been made to improve the learning environment and comfort for students and faculty. The chairs have been changed from the original 1966 wooden chairs to wider, cushioned chairs according to the business college’s communications coordinator, Stacey Gish.

Before the renovations, rows of chairs were being removed to replace or sometimes repair chairs in the front rows, leaving torn-up concrete in the back of the auditorium, the business college’s Associate Dean Michelle Trawick said.

In addition to the chairs, the walls have been repainted from beige to red and gray. 

“It makes the room warmer,” Gish said.

The room is now fully carpeted which improves the sound quality according to Trawick.

One of the biggest changes was the stage removal. A small stage for teachers and speakers was located at the front of the auditorium. All concrete was taken out to get rid of the stage and make the front flat, which is more accessible, Gish explained.

Due to the increased accessibility, the auditorium is an American Disability Association compliant zone, Trawick said.

An area for filming was also removed, which created more seating in the back. Due to the wider chairs, room capacity was not increased in the renovations and remains at around 440, Gish said.

“It’s more streamlined; it’s cleaner; the modern paint job and accented logo on the wall all make it nicer for students,” Gish said.

The renovations are a major improvement sophomore Lejla Nuhanovic said, who had three classes in the auditorium last year. 

“I’ve heard positive things from both students and faculty,” Trawick said.

The renovations were primarily funded through an alumni donation of $100,000, with some secondary costs covered by the college, according to Trawick. Rick and Ann Guillaume were both 1965 alumni of the business college according to Development of Gordon Ford College of Business Development Director, Amy Miller.

The Guillaumes also donated to create the boardroom in the alumni center and have served on the National Alumni Board, according to Miller. “We approached them about the auditorium, and they were happy to help,” Miller said.

Improvements on Grise Hall as a whole have been happening for some time, Trawick said. There have been renovations on the lobby and classrooms as well as the conversion of a classroom into a tutoring office.

This renovation is just the first half of a larger project, Trawick said. Over the upcoming summer break, improvements in the technology will occur, Gish said. These include a new projector, computer equipment and speakers.

“The computer equipment that is in there, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Gish said. Last term, the audio system in the auditorium “went in and out,” Nuhanovic said.

In the future, a new water fountain will be added on the fourth floor, which Trawick said was requested by students. To decide on other projects, faculty input will be considered. 

“We are anxious to see what the faculty and students want next,” Trawick said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].