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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

June 29, 2006

Recital hall renovation continues into July

by Anne Krapfl

If you prefer blue to orange, if you gravitate to soft and silent over flat and squeaky, you're going to enjoy attending lectures and performances in the music department's Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall come August. The performance hall is getting a $220,000 renovation this summer. Work began shortly after spring commencement and should wrap up by the second week of August.

The orange acoustic wall curtains, theater seats and aisle carpet that were installed when the building opened in 1980 are gone after serving more than double duty. A committee of faculty and staff selected the new hues in the seats, curtains and carpet, said Larry Curry, facility manager for the music department.

The average life span of a theater seat is about 10 years, according to Curry. "The foam in the seats had turned to sawdust and most of the chairs had squeaking parts, so they had really deteriorated."

Crews will begin installing new seats next week. Seating capacity in the auditorium will drop slightly, from 312 to 305. But that change is a little deceiving, because areas reserved for wheelchairs and other disability seating in the hall jumped from two to six. The new seats also will have built-in lap boards so that students attending class lectures in Tye hall won't have to carry in lap boards.

The department also is configuring the auditorium for wireless Internet access this summer.

Curry said this summer's work is part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the hall. The first phase, in 1997, updated the lighting fixtures and sound system. The next phase, when funds are available, will be to replace the lighting control matrix, which also is original to the room.

The renovation is being funded with building and repair maintenance funds and other year-end sources from a year ago (the end of fiscal year 2005).

Photos of the renovation in progress are on the music department's Web site at


The Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall in the Music Building is getting a $220,000 renovation this summer that includes new acoustic curtains, seats and carpet. Work should wrap up by the second week of August.