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K-State Today

October 16, 2013

Kirmser Hall dedication Oct. 25 to showcase half-million dollar renovation

Submitted by Jena Sauber

Kirmser Hall

Seven years after the dream began, the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University is unveiling a newly remodeled Kirmser Hall and Fischer Stage in McCain Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 25. The dedication is open to the K-State and Manhattan community.

The approximately $500,000 renovation provides the latest technology and acoustics for students’ classroom and performance experiences.

"This is the first major construction project for the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance," said Gary Mortenson, director of the school. "We hope this will serve as a springboard for major projects that will enhance the reputation of the school."

The room, previously called 204 McCain, is used for lectures, recitals and rehearsals. A major part of the renovation went toward making the room acoustically sound and versatile, Mortenson said.

"The new room is one of the most acoustically advanced areas on campus," Mortenson said. "The clouds on the ceiling and acoustic treatments do very specific things to help the room function. I don’t know of too many places that have been designed that way in the whole country."

"This new facility is an example of how a facility can impact each student’s experience," said Peter Dorhout, College of Arts and Sciences dean. "Students should expect excellence in everything we do. That’s what Top 50 public research universities create for their students and faculty. To achieve our 2025 goals, we need to continue to invest in excellent facilities like Kirmser Hall. That’s how we prepare students to make a difference in the world."

The renovations were funded in part by the late Philip and Jeune Kirmser. Phillip Kirmser was a retired university faculty member.

"They were longtime members of the Manhattan community and very passionate about the arts," Mortenson said. "They've given to the community and university, and this gift was fantastic."

The K-State College of Arts and Sciences dean's office and the provost’s office provided additional funding.

The hall's stage was named after previous K-State professor William Fischer. Donations were gathered to fund the stage and dedicate it in his honor. His portrait will hang in the stage area.

Students started using the facility in early October. The ribbon cutting on Oct. 25 is the official kickoff event for the remodel and the dedication of the stage. The dedication ceremony is the school’s opportunity to officially welcome the K-State and Manhattan community into the newly remodeled space, Mortenson said.

"It's a celebration," Mortenson said. "We hope that people who are potential donors will see how well we’ve done with the legacy of the Kirmsers as well."

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance was granted school status in summer 2012. Approximately 500 students are enrolled in the major and minor programs. More than 1,200 students a week use Kirmser Hall.

"We want to celebrate the seven-year wait and the spectacular results," Mortenson said. "It really exceeds all of our expectations, which is really fantastic."

For more information contact Tom Roesler at troz@k-state.edu or 785-532-6900.