Ordway unveils plans for theater renovation

Leaders of St Paul’s Arts Partnership today announced they have raised more than $50 million of the $75 million needed to build a new concert hall at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.

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Rendering of the new hall for the Ordway

Image courtesy of St. Paul’s Artistic Partnership

The 1,100 seat hall will stand on the site currently occupied by the 300 seat McKnight Theater. HGA architect Tim Carl says the expansion respects the original Ordway design:

The new Concert Hall will have a physical and acoustical intimacy that will provide a visceral and direct connection between the audience and the artists on stage. Warm materials articulate and shape a beautiful hall with an acoustic environment that will envelop the listener with warmth and resonance. The Ordway’s existing lobby dynamically frames views of Rice Park and the city beyond. New lobby space wraps the Concert Hall and continues the rhythmic beauty of the existing lobby windows and extends those views to Fifth Street and the Saint Paul Cathedral to the west.

The Arts Partnership consists of the Ordway, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and the Schubert Club. Ordway President Patricia Mitchell says the new hall will become home to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and allow more flexibility throughout the building.

Many more organizations will use the Ordway than currently can. Now we sit and hope the phone doesn’t ring because there is no time in the hall for anybody to use it. That will happily change to everyone’s advantage. It frees up time on the mainstage for the Opera, the Ordway’s own programs, world music and dance can expand, and the concert hall becomes available to so many other music organizations in the Twin Cities.

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Rendering of the Ordway’s exterior once the expansion is complete

Image courtesy of St. Paul’s Artistic Partnership

Of the more than $50 million raised so far, corporate and foundation funders have committed $19.1 million, individual funders have committed $13.475 million, the City of Saint Paul has committed $3 million and the State of Minnesota has committed $16 million in bonding funds.

If the Partnership can complete the rest of the fundraising in the next few months, construction is scheduled to begin next spring. However Mitchell says – due to the press of productions – if it takes longer to raise the money the next opportunity to break ground will be spring 2013.