October 18, 2001

State Theater, Bailey Hall

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The University is currently looking into finding replacement locations for concerts, lectures and classes uprooted during the renovation of Bailey Hall, which will begin in 2002.

Possible relocation sites for Bailey activities include the Statler Auditorium and the David L. Call ’54 Auditorium in Kennedy Hall, as well as the State Theater in downtown Ithaca, which just received $150,000 in federal funds.

Bailey Hall has a capacity of 2,000 people and is set to begin construction after the fall semester of next year. The project is expected to cost $13.1 million, with $10.6 million coming from the state of New York.

“Bailey Hall is one of our older buildings, constructed in 1912, and it’s in need of a long-awaited, comprehensive renovation,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations.

The finished Bailey Hall, due to be complete in the summer of 2004, will feature fewer seats, improved acoustics and air conditioning.

Prof. James Maas, psychology, who teaches Psychology 101 in Bailey Hall, expects to move to the Statler Auditorium.

“The new facility will mean dropping our enrollment by 300 to 500 students because of the need to meet new building codes,” he said. “But 1,200 students will make the class more intimate.”

The State Street Theater, also known as The State, is expected to re-open its doors to the public the first week of December 2001, and could potentially provide extra performance space for University groups once Bailey construction begins.

At first, the theater will offer only a limited number of performances and films while efforts are made to create a permanent organization to oversee the management of the theater.

The State Street Theatre’s donation was announced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-26) last Thursday, and it will bring the theater only $150,000 short of its goal to raise $1.5 million to fund ongoing renovation.

“This is very alive, very exciting,” said Scott Whitham ’90, director of Historic Ithaca, the group overseeing The State’s renovation.

Historic Ithaca, a preservation group, purchased The State — which is located on the Commons — and began renovation of the 1,600-person collegiate-gothic style building in 1998. Renovations will restore essential infrastructure: the roof, heating, electrical and fire safety systems.

The State is included in the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized by the American Institute of Architects as one of the most significant architectural landmarks in the state. Built in 1928, it was in its heyday a strong community theater for the performance arts and cinema, but it fell into disrepair and was closed in 1997, condemned by the city of Ithaca.

Archived article by Peter Norlander