Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Ent Center for the rising in Colorado Springs!

Exterior artist rendering:  The Ent Center for the Arts.

If you haven’t yet noticed, the new Ent Center for the Arts is emerging on the northwest side of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) campus.  It’s visible from both North Nevada and I-25, and is rapidly taking shape as THE arts venue for the city.

The $70,000,000 ($60M for construction, $10M for infrastructure) project will house nearly all of the UCCS arts programs, as well as the new home for the Theatreworks’ Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.  The construction is a two year process, and as of November 4, the job is just over half completed.  UCCS plans to take over the completed facility in about 14 months, on or about January 1, 2018.  

The Ent Center for the Arts may well be the next landmark to define Colorado Springs, taking its place alongside photos of the Broadmoor and the Air Force Academy chapel.  The new building has the potential to refine and define the arts in Colorado Springs.
There are several separate venues in The Ent Center for the Arts; the main theater will 786 patrons in a state of the art facility.  The entire building is fully ADA compliant, including elevators for patrons to reach the upper level seating.  

The largest theater is the one to the right in this floor plan, and here's what it looks like today, standing on the main stage and looking out to the audience:

View from the stage in the largest venue at the Ent Center.

And here's what it should look like from the same spot when the work is finished:  

Artist rendering of finished view from stage.

Each of the major venues in the Ent Center for the Arts will have backstage dock access to facilitate moving materiel into and out of the performance area.  

Dock Door for main theater (center).

Theatreworks’ new home at Dusty Loo Bon Vivant theater will be a black box venue that continues the flexibility and intimacy that has defined Theatreworks productions in the past.  Not only will the new black box seat more patrons (250, with 270 possible for some productions), but it will also have a feature not found in the current facility: a pit.  The pit will allow actors and/or set pieces to rise to or sink from the stage.  

Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater at the Ent Center for the Arts.

In addition to a pit, the new Dusty Loo will also have mezzanine seating.  The second level seats will have the effect of making the large room seem more intimate. 

Rehearsal Hall, wall forms.

The Rehearsal Hall is a small venue that will be sound proofed to prevent interference with other events.  As you can see from the photo, it will have formed walls for the correct acoustics.  It boasts perhaps the best view in the building, with a city and front range view to the south and west.
Rehearsal Hall view.

The second floor will house a small but fully equipped teaching black box theater, and a dance rehearsal room.   

Dance Rehearsal Room, view of N. Nevada Avenue, I-25, and front range.

My favorite part (so far) of The Ent Center for the Arts is the second floor open air deck.  You can step outside before a show, after a show, or at intermission.  Take a few minutes to admire the spectacular view of the city and Pikes Peak.

Outdoor Deck, second floor.

The bottom line is that The Ent Center for the Arts is going to be a huge addition to the Colorado (not just Colorado Springs) creative community.  The University of Colorado/Colorado Springs will have a state of the art facility that brings professional and community theater companies new opportunities.  It will also serve as an incubator, teaching a new generation of artists and technical students how to make great theater.  

The countdown to January 1, 2018 is underway.  It’s exactly 418 days from today (November 8, 2016).  Mark your calendars for the opening ceremonies at The Ent Center for the Arts.

Photo Credit:  Theatreworks and Bill Wheeler


There will be a Donor Wall at The Ent Center for the Arts, to memorialize those who donate to the project.  You can still get a tile with your name on it.  Prices start at $250, and although there’s no mention of the tax issue on the Theatreworks web site, I suspect donations are deductible.  More information here.  The wall (before and after) appears below.

Donor Wall, artist rendering.
Donor Wall construction.

Theatreworks is giving tours of the new Ent Center on Fridays at 3:30 PM (lasting for 60-90 minutes).  Tours are free, but you must register online here.  

Some of my exterior/through the windows photos are victims of the setting sun.  Since the building faces south and west, sun glare is common in the afternoon.  Just something to keep in mind if you're taking the tour or shooting photos after the building opens.

I may have stumbled onto my next Halloween costume.  I just need to find some guys to help me with the rest of the Village People.  Leave me a message if you want to Disco next Halloween…

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