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Auditorium renovation campaign kicks off

Oct 4, 2011
by Laura Smith

From world-renowned performers and college theatrical performances to educational lectures and top political commentators, the Flagler College Auditorium has been a hot-seat of cultural activity since its opening in 1991. Now, the college is embarking on a fundraising effort called “Setting the Stage: The Campaign for the Flagler College Auditorium” for a major renovation and expansion of the auditorium. Setting the Stage aims to raise funds for a two-phase project. This is the first major renovation of the auditorium, which has seen 20 years of continuous use by the college and the St. Augustine community.

“The Flagler College Auditorium is one of the most important and widely used facilities in St. Augustine,” said Flagler College President William T. Abare Jr. “Since its opening in 1991, the auditorium has played host to hundreds of events and thousands of patrons.”

The first phase of renovations is planned for the summer of 2012 and will include interior upgrades to seating, carpet and décor. Improvements will also be made to technical components like sound and lighting. The estimated cost of the first phase of renovations is $1 million.

“The auditorium is used by community organizations for concerts, music festivals, film festivals, recitals, other forms of entertainment, and public and governmental meetings,” Abare said. “The educational and cultural programs offered in the auditorium have enriched the lives of our residents and have made our community a better place in which to live and work.”

The second phase — estimated at $1.2 million — is scheduled to commence after funds are raised, and will consist of a structural addition to the facility. The addition will feature more classroom space, meeting rooms and offices for faculty and staff.

Along with Theatre Department productions and other student events, community groups including The EMMA Concert Association, The St. Augustine Community Ballet, The St. Johns County Cultural Council, The Gamble Rogers Folk Festival and The Tourist Development Council have used the auditorium.

In addition, through Flagler College programs such as Writers-in-Residence and the Forum on Government and Public Policy, the auditorium has hosted community presentations by the likes of Pat Conroy, Dennis Lehane, Robert Novak, David Broder and Andrew Young.

Renovations funded by Setting the Stage will ensure the venue’s continued availability for upcoming keystone events including the 500th Anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s landing, the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the 450th Anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine.


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