IOWA CITY, Iowa — A new auditorium at the University of Iowa is set to be open after the original space was damaged by flooding.

The original Hancher Auditorium opened in 1972. It was damaged beyond repair by a 2008 flood and the building’s demolition started in 2013, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/2bXALOL ) reports.

It’s scheduled to be unveiled in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

The new 1,800-seat auditorium features silver-green padded chairs, eight sets of gallery seats above the orchestra level and two balconies. Charles Swanson, executive director of Hancher, said the standout feature of the auditorium for him is the 14,000 stainless steel panels that are a part of the building’s curved exterior.

The auditorium has a stage that is 13 feet higher than the old stage. The entire building is also 7 feet above the Iowa River’s 500-year flood level.

The construction of the new auditorium cost $176 million.

Rob Cline, director of marketing and communications, said ticket sales have been “strong across the board.” The space is set to host 32 events over nine months, including musicals and performances by dance and musical groups.

Hancher Auditorium plans to hire 150 to 200 University of Iowa students to be ushers, concierges, coat-checkers and more. Students will also help run the four permanent concession stands inside the space.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/