The Brady Educational Center’s auditorium stage recently underwent a transformation with a new red oak floor resanded, resealed and recoated in time for the fall semester.
“It’s the original floor that was replaced. It’s been in there since 1966,” Jerry Anderley, associate vice president for facilities, said.
The floor took 24 days to finish with construction starting on Aug. 11, in that time the chairs were redone too.
“The seats were all reupholstered and rebuilt,” Anderley said. “You can actually sit on a seat without falling into the metal pan.”
Anderley said the total cost of the stage was about $35,000.
“Every year, we have a certain number of projects that we put forth that are capital projects, so it’s funded by student tuition basically out of the operation budget,” Anderley said.
Students who use the stage are more than happy to have a new shiny floor.
“We’re really, really, really excited,” junior Ellen Pappas, UST Dance Club president, said. “It was just unsafe, so we’re really excited to have the new stage.”
Junior Emily Brom, who plays the flute in Symphonic Wind Ensemble and sings in the Liturgical Choir, said she is excited to know the floor is remodeled. Like Pappas, she noted there have been some safety hazards in the past.
“I think it was my freshman year that I ended up getting a splinter from the old floor, so it’s really nice not to have to worry about that,” Brom said.
Pappas mentioned the Dance Club had several safety issues as well.
“We’ve definitely had girls with big slivers in their feet bleeding badly. You need a safe space to be able to perform,” Pappas said.
Dance Club decided to send a subtle hint to the university.
“After our spring show, a few people in Dance Club were tweeting, ‘We need a new stage.’ A ton of people were re-tweeting it to the St. Thomas Twitter (account),” Pappas said.
Matthew George, music department chair, said the stage is “an improvement,” but there is still work to be done.
“The auditorium as a whole needs significant renovation,” George said. “Quite honestly, (the stage) is not on my high list of what I would like to see happen with this building in terms of suiting our needs.”
Senior Tommy Glass, a music business and vocal performance major, shared the same sentiments.
“I don’t want to say it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, but it kind of is,” Glass said.
Even though it’s only a stage for now, George said he is optimistic for greater things in the future.
“I have a lot of hope that ultimately we’re going to get a new building for the arts,” he said. “There’s talk about it, but there’s been talk for the last 22 years.”
Tarkor Zehn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.