Miller shutdown relocates departments

Haley Barnes

Theatre faculty member Rebecca Morrice, Art major Emily Smith and Public Relations major Lexi Caccese work on costumes in the basement of the University Union, because Miller Auditorium is closed. Renovations of the auditorium have recently been delayed.

Rachel Konieczny, Rocket Contributor
April 17, 2014

The $24.6 million construction plan for the Performing Arts Center, replacing Miller Auditorium, was reassessed and under review by the Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees. Due to a decline in enrollment and Commonwealth funding, the university is re-examining all campus expenditures, according to the last Council of Trustees meeting agenda.

The renovations were planned to begin in Aug., but in Feb. it was announced that the plans were being reconsidered in order to come up with a new plan that would be more cost-effective but still offer services for the Dance and Theatre Departments, Urusla Payne, chairperson of the dance department explained. The renovation changes will save $4.6 million in comparison to building the Performing Arts Complex. 

“This whole project started in 2004,” Rita Abent, the Executive Director for Slippery Rock University Public Relations said. “The world has changed, just think about how our budget has changed from 10 years to now. It’s prudent for any organization to make absolutely sure that you’re meeting all the program needs before you put the shovel in the ground. I think that’s what the Council of Trustees has asked the president and staff to evaluate.”

“I don’t know that there’s been a firm time-table, but I think there’s some effort to make that decision as soon as possible,” Abent said.

Abent stated that there has been no discussion about completely canceling the construction.

Dr. David Skeele, professor of theatre, was indifferent towards recent announcements of the cancellation of intended reconstruction plans.

“I think there’s a good chance that the university will come up with facilities that will serve us well,” Skeele stated.

Until the Miller Auditorium renovations are complete, the Dance Department will have to hold their SRU Faculty and Guest Artist Dance Concerts in Butler County Community College because accreditation of the concert requires professional lighting that is not available on Slippery Rock campus. The Theatre Department has been performing their shows at the University Union in the Multi-Purpose Room. 

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