Amphitheater coming to IU by 2016

IU will begin constructing an amphitheater next year. Capital Planning and Facilities Vice President Thomas Morrison said they hope to see it finished by the end of 2016.

“The amphitheater’s greatest use is for students to have a place to relax and study outdoors when the weather permits,” Morrison said.

A name for the amphitheater has yet to be decided. The name will most likely be born from donors, he said.

The structure will be located west of the Bryan House and northeast of Ballantine Hall. The stage will come up to the Jordan River, and the seating will be located on the opposite side of the river, he said.

“We plan to nestle it within the sidewalks and have no effect on the surrounding buildings,” Morrison said.

The structure will be flexible and rather small. It will hold hundreds rather than thousands and work its way around campus while maintaining all of the surrounding trees, he said.

Along with student use, IU’s theater and drama department will use the amphitheater for performances. Summer theater and summer opera are some ideas to be explored, he said.

“We will meet with the theater and drama department in a couple weeks to discuss plans for future use of the amphitheater,” Morrison said.

Use of the amphitheater will be determined by weather but still might have use during the winter. There will be tiers with low limestone walls for people to sit on instead of sitting on the grass, he said.

“I believe the amphitheater will be very popular during the summer nights, based on weather,” Morrison said.

The structure will be built from limestone to match the rest of the buildings located on campus.

“The limestone retaining walls will provide natural use, and we plan to make it a natural typography of the campus,” Morrison said.

The community, along with students, will also use the amphitheater.

“We want people to experience the arts. It will be another venue for students, faculty and the community to enjoy,” Morrison said.

According to Morrison, the amphitheater has been a long-standing idea that was originally thought of during Herman B Wells’s time at IU, Morrison said. The structure was to be built where the Lilly Library is located today, but it did not happen, he said.

“We received permission last week from the Board of Trustees to continue on the amphitheater design,” Morrison said.

The structure design will be similar to the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was built in the 1940s.

IU will oversee the construction of the amphitheater.

“We are not disturbing much, so it will not be terribly expensive,” Morrison said.

The presence of the amphitheater will strengthen the arts within IU while also providing an area for students to gather. It will also affirm IU’s standing belief in preserving the nature within campus in order to provide a distinct learning atmosphere for students to enjoy.

“We want to extenuate the natural features of the campus, and we want them to be used,” Morrison said.

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