After closing in June of 2016 for an expansion project, the university celebrated the newly renovated John R. Emens Auditorium with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. 

The renovations include changes to the lobby, box office, a handicap bathroom, an added hospitality suite on the second floor, a conference room and a vista.

RELATED: Emens construction slated to finish in October 

"More than 50 years ago as some of you know, Ball State was contemplating the need for a venue that would serve both the campus and the broader community," President Geoffrey S. Mearns said at the ceremony. 

The auditorium, which was built in 1961, was named after then President John R. Emens, who envisioned a "campus of the future."

"I believe that he (Emens) would be proud of how these renovations are improving the overall experience for everyone who comes through those doors," Mearns said. 

Mearns said that the renovations would not be possible without the support of people both in attendance at the ceremony and across the community. 

RELATED: The New Face of John R. Emens Auditorium 

"I want to thank you and everyone else who was responsible for these renovations," Mearns said. "Thank you for once again embarking on a community-driven fundraising campaign that made these improvements and these enhancements possible."

Tom Bracken, a member of the Ball State Board of Trustees, said the story of Emens is inspiring.

"This building started out as an idea," Bracken said. "The idea, of course, is collaboration between the community and what was then known as the college." 

Bracken said that the auditorium is not only a place for both university and community events, but a professional performance stage for students. 

Contact Andrew Smith with comments at ajsmith15@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @AndrewSmithNews.