$6M renovation of T. Furth Center underway

March 04, 2013

ANGOLA, Ind. – Trine University is giving a historic structure in Angola a facelift and upgrade befitting the historic Greek Revival brick building.

With funding in hand, Trine is moving at full speed on the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts with a $6 million renovation and addition to the former Angola Christian Church, located on Maumee Street west of Darling Street. Completion is projected for December 2013.

"We are grateful for the generosity of donors who are making this a reality for the Angola community and Trine," said Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D. "This large-scale project will honor Trine's long-standing tradition of music while also honoring the history of the church."

Trine credits longtime donors Tomas Furth, Rick L. and Vicki L. James, Cliff and Sig Ryan, and Ralph and Sheri Trine with enabling the university to tackle this renovation and 3,328-square-foot addition. The project is in response to increasing student interest in the arts and music, and to establish a venue for large-scale productions, concerts and other events. (A comprehensive community needs assessment completed in 2006 confirmed that opportunities for creating, appreciating and interacting with the arts was dishearteningly absent from northeast Indiana, limiting opportunities for students, youth and families.)

Trine also has a connection to the building's history because in the 1960s and '70s, Trine conducted commencement exercises in the church.

"We hope community members and regional residents will share our enthusiasm for this much-needed project, and take advantage of the cultural and entertainment opportunities it will provide," Brooks said.

The finished look of the Ryan Concert Hall, inspired by Wiener Musikverein concert hall in Vienna, will feature a lush look of gold detailing, marble statuary, paintings, chandeliers and balconies. The 750-seat hall will get a new balcony on the east end, and refurbished balconies on the north and south sides. A new stage will anchor the west end.

The concert hall will have state-of-the-art acoustics, sound and light. The ceiling dome from the original 1910 design will be restored and stained glass windows will be added.

Construction will include an addition to the west side and north side of the structure, moving to the north the main entry, which will be a barrier-free, drive-up entrance covered by a portico. The addition will provide space for Strock Rehearsal Hall for large instrumental ensemble rehearsal, and feature practice rooms, studios, offices, a music library and a large backstage area.

The lower level will have room for classrooms, and a freight elevator will make it possible to move large instruments between floors.

The site itself will also be upgraded to include the extension of University Avenue to the north and new parking areas.

The historic building, the former home of the Angola Christian Church, has been a cultural icon in Angola and northeast Indiana for more than 100 years. The front of the building features 15 steps and four Bedford limestone pillars leading to the ceremonial entrance, which will be used as an emergency exit.

So, by this time next year, the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts will be offering dates for performances and other cultural events.

For more information about the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.trine.edu/furth/.

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