Hamre ready for all: Renovated performance hall opens


Nearing its completion, Hamre Hall looks as night does to day compared to Kresge Hall, the new hall’s predecessor.

Brad Heegel, director of Development for Augustana Performing and Visual Arts, said the renovations include a complete remodeling of the aesthetics of the hall as well as new lighting and audio recording equipment.

“The renovation truly gutted the facility to its concrete walls,” Heegel said.

The renovations to Hamre Hall cost around $1.3 million and are part of a much larger $3.3 million project to renovate the entire Fryxell Humanities Center, including the band and choir rehearsal rooms, Heegel said.

Professor Lisa Grevlos, chair of the Augustana Music Department, said the university has funding for the renovation of the choir room and is close to the funding goal for the band room.

The designs of both rooms will mimic Hamre Hall, she said.

The donation for the hall itself came in large part from alumnus John Hamre and his family.

Before the renovation music staff and professors met with Chase Kramer, an Augie graduate and architect for TSP Design LLC., to complete the design.

Hamre now stands as an example of 21st-century design professor Brian Hanegan, director of Jazz studies at Augustana said.

Grevlos said the hall looks like Augustana.

“The light wood and the navy wood—it’s definitely Augustana,” Grevlos said.

From a performance standpoint, Hannah Guggisberg, a senior violinist and music education major, said the space is designed for the artist to express themselves on stage.

Guggisberg has her senior recital in the hall on Sept. 30, and she has practiced in the space to prepare.

“I am in love with it,” Guggisberg said. “It’s amazing—the sound differences compared to Kresge. The acoustics are so much better.”

The new technological capabilities are also a major improvement, Guggisberg said.

The hall now has updated cameras and audio equipment, which allows people to listen to concerts at a later time with professional audio standards.

Other practical changes include a floor plan that allows for easier seating, handicap accessible seats and sliding doors on stage right to fit the departments grand piano, Heegel said.

Grevlos said the hall is complete besides ongoing technological improvements and a handful of uncompleted seats.


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