Ford Auditorium renovations on hold until funds are raised

Ashley Foreman, COM 250 Reporter

Beth Anne DeKeizer, COM 303 Editor

Chairs, when not in use, are stored on the Ford Auditorium
stage due to lack of storage space.

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — Berry College’s advancement team is pushing to raise the $4.9 million needed to begin renovations of Ford Auditorium. The project cannot begin until all of the funds have been raised, said Thomas Kennedy, dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The renovations will address problems such as poor acoustics, structural problems and outdated equipment. There are not start or completion dates for the project, which is part of Berry’s LifeReady Campaign, pending the fundraising efforts, Kennedy said.

Thomas Kennedy, dean of the Evans School of
Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

“It’s not a question of whether, but a question of how,” he said.

Junior music major Caroline Moore said she has experienced many of the problems in the auditorium. She said some issues she has encountered are drafts that blow sheet music off of music stands, pipes that make loud noises during performances, and ceiling tiles that have been held together with adhesive foam to prevent them from falling on audience members.

“[The renovation] needs to be done,” Moore said.

The auditorium also does not accommodate performances by solo artists, singers or musicians who produce a soft sound, said Adam Hayes, department chair of fine arts and associate professor of music. The plans for the renovation call for features such as a stage with a closed back and sound reflectors in order to improve the acoustics in the space, he said.

Members of the Berry community other than musicians will also be affected by the renovations. The Krannert Center Activities Board, for example, hosts many events in Ford, such as talent shows and guest artist performances.

“The green room right now is really creepy and dingy,” said Karolyn Olsen, president of KCAB.

The room above the stage that is currently being used as a
green room for guest artists and other performers.

Improving the green room and the areas where guest artists relax would give professional artists the respect that they deserve, Olsen said.

The stage is “not living up to the standards of the people who are preforming on it,” Moore said.

In works since December 2011


The renovations have been discussed by faculty members since December 2011, however, the plan was postponed until after renovations of Blackstone Hall and its theater, Hayes said.

Adam Hayes, chair of the music and fine arts

“We hope that . . . the Blackstone renovation would start the wheels rolling for the [fundraising for the] Ford renovation,” Hayes said.

Blackstone Hall took precedence due to decisions made by donors, Hayes said. Now that that project has completed, Ford Auditorium is the priority.

The renovation plan calls for a new stage of nearly 1,100 square feet, a new ceiling to improve acoustics, an updated green room, and digital sound and lighting, according to the LifeReady website.

Although it will be difficult for the music students to lose access to the auditorium during the renovations, an updated auditorium is necessary in order to attract larger audiences for Berry’s concerts and improve the quality of the concerts themselves, Moore said.

“We hope that it will further champion our cause as being a destination for serious music study,” Hayes said.


For more on the renovations, visit

For more on LifeReady, visit

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