Following eight months and $5.5 million in renovation, the W.K.Kellogg Auditorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, reopened to the public. The project was spurred by the desire of the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra to improve its home and by the Kellogg Company to make a major gesture in the community in honor of its 100th birthday.
Improvements to audience comfort include new and renovated seating, new heating and air conditioning, renovated restrooms, and new sound and video systems. Other improvements include lighting, stage rigging, and an orchestra shell.
The auditorium now has new seating, an expanded stage, an acoustical shell for orchestras, lighting, sound and a video system. Thanks to new projection screens, "there won't be a bad seat in the house, "Harrigan said. "It's everything you could hope for to present the sort of talent we're presenting."
Also new are heating and air-conditioning systems, restrooms (including double the space for the women's restrooms), carpeting and an expanded lobby.
"It's absolutely gorgeous," said Denny Welling, Battle Creek Public Schools' facilities manager and the owner's representative for the project. The school district has owned the auditorium since 1931.
The auditorium has new-millennium technology in an Art Deco style, Welling said.
"We were trying to get back to the late '20s/early '30s in the architecture, so we tore out a lot of the things done in the '80s that were intended to modernize. "The sound and video systems are 2010 -- they're cutting edge," he said.
In addition to myriad structural and technological renovations, a curved wooden seat was placed among the others in memory of the man whose name the auditorium bears.
"As many of you may have read, he (W.K. Kellogg) had a fascination with the number seven," said Kellogg Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Jenness to concertgoers Thursday night. "He was the seventh son of the seventh son ... the seventh seat in the seventh row will forever be reserved for Mr. Kellogg."