EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – After 6 months of fundraising, University of Evansville officials announced they have reached their goal of $3 million for renovations to the Wheeler Concert Hall. They made the announcement at the start of the Music Conservatory Ensemble Showcase at Neu Chapel, the first live concert for the school in over a year.
“We really needed a nice facility to move ourselves into the 21st century and now not only we are getti it but we are getting a state of the art facility so we are going to be on the cutting edge as far as facilities for our students and a great place for our students to perform,” said Ken Steinsultz, the Co-Director of the Music Conservatory.
In 2019, a water line break caused damage to much of the hall. The wooden floors were ruined, the ceiling was damaged, and the organ was beyond repair. Since then, it has been out of commission. But now there is a light at the end of the tunnel for music students and faculty.
“In February we announced that a major renovation was coming to Wheeler Concert Hall. We had a $3 million goal. That seemed like a daunting task back in February and to be honest we were about roughly a half million dollars away just a few weeks ago. We had a final push and we were able to reach that goal,” Tad Dickel, President of “Friends of UE Music” said.
The Music Conservatory faculty raved over the state of the art additions and alterations coming to Wheeler.
There will be brand new seats that are modular for convenience, new flooring, variable acoustics for a better concert experience, and a higher ceiling that will help with the sound. Some students said they can’t wait to be able to play at the new hall.
“I think it’ll bring a lot more prospective students. We can showcase our new hall and hopefully bring in more students who are wanting to do music performance, music Ed, music therapy. Anything like that… We’ll definitely be able to hear each other a lot better and stay more in tune with each other and be able to stay on top of things much better,” said Lindsey Ostria, a UE sophomore transfer student.
Just as quick as the fundraising was met, the renovations are supposed to have a speedy start as well.
“We’re gonna see stuff start moving in in about a month. They’re going to start doing the hearing and air conditioning in November and other stuff is going out for bids so we hope to have it finished sometime in the spring or early summer,” added Steinsultz.
Per the press release from UE, “Interested individuals can still name a seat in Wheeler Concert Hall for $2,500 if the donation is made before October 31. To make a gift, please visit uealumnionline.com/HaveASeat.”