Blank Performing Arts Center is ‘vibrant’

by Hanna Russmann & Mallory Tandy

The completion of the Blank Performing Arts Center (BPAC) renovation and expansion has received positive feedback from faculty and students.

Simpson College president John Byrd said the renovated center will help in the theatre department’s recruitment process.

“Altogether the renovation inside the theater, in addition to the increased lobby and classroom space, really makes for one of the finest undergraduate teaching facilities in theatre anywhere to be found in the country and certainly in the states that we recruit in,” Byrd said.

Byrd couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the renovation and expansion of BPAC.

“I think the final result was even better than we had anticipated,” Byrd said. “The addition blends seamlessly with the existing building. Everyone that I have talked to is absolutely thrilled at the result we were able to achieve.”

Tom Woldt, head of the theatre department and professor of theatre arts, is one of the many faculty members excited about the major improvement made to BPAC.

“The building has a much more vibrant atmosphere and is much more welcoming,” Woldt said.

Improvements noted by Woldt include new faculty offices, a new electrical system, all new seating in Pote Theatre and “excellent” handicap accessibility.

Junior theatre major, Natalie Hining is also very pleased with the newly installed handicap accessible elevator.

“The new elevator is really great,” Hining said. “My dad is handicapped, and he can’t go up and down the stairs so there were times in Pote when he couldn’t go to the shows because he couldn’t get up to his seat. He now has an elevator he can use that allows him to go to the shows.”

Another student commented on how much she liked the increased amount of space added to BPAC.

“It’s awesome,” junior theatre major Ali Simpson said. “We have more classrooms that we are able to get into, aside from the one classroom we had before. We also have more storage space, which is a lot of fun.”

Senior theatre major Heather Powers finds the new classrooms to be a great addition as well.

“I love the new addition to the theatre,” Powers said. “For the past three years, we have been shoved down into the dark bowels of the theatre, and it’s really nice to have class in the sunshine.”

All of the positive aspects of the finished BPAC project are generating excitement for the current student center project.

“We are using the same architectural firm to design the new student center as the one that worked on the Blank project so we have every reason to believe that we are going to get an equally good result with that project,” Byrd said. “Having a great project like the Blank project finished gets everyone even more excited about the next project so it does build momentum on our campus and it certainly builds excitement among the donors who are helping make these projects possible.”

Everyone is invited to enjoy the grand opening show of the newly completed BPAC Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.