Ball State Board of Trustees approves amphitheater budget

<p>Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities and planning management, presents a slide showing a sketch model of the Brown Family Amphitheater at the Board of Trustees virtual meeting Dec. 11, 2020. The board approved a $3.15 million budget for the amphitheater&#x27;s construction. <strong>Grace McCormick, Screenshot Capture</strong></p>

Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities and planning management, presents a slide showing a sketch model of the Brown Family Amphitheater at the Board of Trustees virtual meeting Dec. 11, 2020. The board approved a $3.15 million budget for the amphitheater's construction. Grace McCormick, Screenshot Capture

Ball State’s Board of Trustees approved the budget for a $3.15 million construction project to build an amphitheater in the footprint of the Emens parking structure at its meeting Dec. 11, 2020. The $3.15 million includes the costs of building materials, theatrical equipment and technology.

The board also voted to name the amphitheater “Brown Family Amphitheater” in honor of Charles W. Brown, who is funding the project.

Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities and planning management, said the amphitheater will include a 1400 square feet performance stage — approximately the same size as Pruis Hall’s stage — made with thermally-modified wood to provide good acoustics and weather resistance.

Lowe said he expects the amphitheater to be used for Ball State and Muncie community events, including theater and music performances, community presentations and high school recognition ceremonies. He said he expects construction to begin in late May of 2021 and finish by December 2021 if the university receives the state of Indiana’s approval for the project.

“The location chosen for the amphitheater aligns perfectly with the plans to create excitement in the core of campus,” Lowe said. 

Lowe said the New York parking garage, which opened for use in August 2020, will provide parking spaces for amphitheater visitors. 

Also in the meeting, which was conducted via Zoom, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Susana Rivera-Mills presented faculty wishes for the spring 2021 semester.

“They wanted to make sure we could create as much consistency as possible for our students,” she said.

To abide by social distancing guidelines, Rivera-Mills said non-academic spaces including Emens Auditorium, Pruis Hall and the Student Center will continue to be used for classroom spaces in spring 2021. 

“The spring semester will look very similar to fall in terms of the modalities we will be using to deliver our courses,” she said. “We are very proud of being able to finish our fall semester strong and to have ensured students and faculty had the resources they needed.”

Rivera-Mills said there are no updates to the spring 2021 semester schedule since the last Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 18, except for the integration of three study days.

According to Ball State’s spring 2021 calendar, study days will be observed Feb. 24, March 23 and April 14.

“This was in response to both faculty and student feedback,” Rivera-Mills said. “The intention of these study days is really to help students pause from the usual classroom activities and use that time as a mental break.”

The spring 2021 semester is still scheduled to begin Jan. 19, 2021, with commencement planned for May 8 and spring break canceled.

Contact Grace McCormick with comments at grmccormick@bsu.eduor on Twitter @graceMc564.

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