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ASU Gammage celebrates renovations with ribbon cutting ceremony

Ribbon Cutting

Donors help cut the ribbon, marking the grand opening of the new elevators and restrooms at ASU Gammage.

March 15, 2017

Now, the longest lines at ASU Gammage are reserved for the actors.

After years of fundraising, planning and construction, the newest additions to ASU’s iconic auditorium — 88 women’s restroom stalls and two elevators — opened March 14, allowing patrons to enjoy greater access and comfort in the venue.

“Good afternoon and welcome to the beginning of a new era at ASU Gammage,” began Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and associate vice president of cultural affairs for ASU during her speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “So many people have come together to make this day possible ... As a result, we are able to fulfill a longtime dream to give this glorious building the restrooms and elevators it has needed.”

As part of the organization’s Elevate and Alleviate Campaign to upgrade the auditorium and sustain it for future generations, ASU Gammage, its donors and the community raised over $9 million.

Compared to the original structure built in 1964, the renovations are barely detectable from the outside.

Beau Dromiack, design director with RSP Architects, carefully studied the building before designing the new components, he said. He hoped to highlight the upgrades while staying true to legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s original design.

On each side, framed by the building’s two long arms, brick structures enclose the venue’s new bathroom facilities. Although the bricks match those originally used to construct the auditorium, they are arranged in a rippling pattern to create a shifting maze of shadows as the sun moves throughout the day.

Although beautiful, ASU Gammage’s key objective for the renovations was functionality. The women's restrooms are designed to maximize efficiency, minimize sound disturbances and decrease patrons’ wait-times.

Each sink is equipped with a handbag hanger and paper towel dispensers are peppered between each pair of sinks. Also, extra mirror space is available between sinks for those who are not washing their hands. Each vanity is equipped with state-of-the-art, custom lighting, and the toilets and ceiling are optimized for sound reduction.

Previously, patrons could only access the auditorium’s orchestra, grand tier and balcony via ramps or stairs. Now, two elevators complete with ASU Gammage elevator attendants will help increase accessibility.

Thanks to contributions from over 1,500 donors, including significant investments from ASU Gammage, the classic auditorium is revitalized for many more years of world-class performances.

“I am happy to see so many faces of friends and people with whom we have made a family at ASU Gammage and happy that we have been able to forge a new future for ASU Gammage-- a future where we are able to better meet the needs our patrons,” continued Jennings-Roggensack.

Donors, VIPs and ASU staff celebrated the completion of the project with tours of the renovated areas, and a VIP dinner on the auditorium’s promenade before opening night of "Finding Neverland."

“For more than two decades I’ve had this dream of making sure ASU Gammage was around for future generations and these building additions along with our continued investment into the facility will assure that for many years to come,” Jennings-Roggensack said.

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