February 7, 2002

Hotel School to Add Classrooms, Renovate Statler

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The School of Hotel Administration will begin construction this September to build an addition onto the Statler Hotel and to renovate the Alice Statler Auditorium.

The addition, which will extend off of the Barton Hall side of the Statler Hotel, will consist of six classrooms, a three-story atrium and a 140-seat lecture hall. The addition will also include a hospitality suite, four group study areas and eight interview rooms.


The hotel school plans to complete the construction, which will cost $14.5 million, by the spring of 2004. The addition will be named for Robert Beck, a hotel school dean for 20 years, and his wife Jane.

“Our biggest needs are classrooms and interview rooms,” said Marge Ferguson, associate dean for business administration.

Of the six classrooms, two will be wired for data and power access, one will be a computer room and two will be traditional rooms. According to Ferguson, the interview rooms will serve as places for small group study and student recruitment meetings.

The addition necessitates making changes to the Statler Auditorium, according to Ferguson.

“The auditorium is being renovated and reduced in capacity,” she said.

After the renovation, the auditorium, which currently has 889 seats, will have 750 seats.

A more controversial change involves removing the stage from the auditorium.

“We’re doing away with the stage,” Ferguson said. “We can no longer support performances there.”

According to Ferguson, theatrical groups have never performed in the auditorium because it does not have adequate space.

In addition, the support space, which includes the garage and dressing rooms, will be torn down.

“Without the support part, we can’t use the stage anymore,” said Rick Wood, media specialist for the Statler Auditorium & Binenkorb Media Center. “I’m sad.”

Although the hotel school plans to start and complete the auditorium renovations during the summer of 2003, to keep it open during the academic year, “it will be unavailable for stage productions starting next year,” Ferguson said.

The plans to remove the auditorium’s stage will inconvenience student groups that perform there, according to Wood.

“There isn’t another venue like this on campus,” he said. “Nothing is as good as the Statler.”

Wood added that Bailey Hall, an on-campus performance venue currently undergoing renovations, will not serve the needs of the groups that perform in the Statler Auditorium.

“[Bailey Hall] is huge, and it’s all wrong acoustically,” he said.

During the semester, there are approximately two performances a week in the Statler Auditorium, including a capella concerts, gospel festivals, dance performances and the annual Greek God Pageant, according to Wood.

“[These plans] are leaving us with nowhere to perform,” said Samantha Rifkin ’02, president of Shadows Dance Troupe.

Shadows Dance Troupe annually produces “Fall Step,” during which 13 on-campus dance groups perform on the Statler stage.

“The Statler is the only place where 13 groups can perform,” Rifkin said. “We sell out every year, and the money goes to charity. We have no alternatives [for next year], and we don’t know what to do.”

According to Rifkin, Shadows Dance Troupe has performed in the Statler Auditorium at least six times.

“The audience is the perfect size, and it has a great stage. It’s a great facility,” she said. “They are taking the opportunity to perform away from us [by removing the stage].”

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin