Construction crews are focused on the final sections of the exterior of the building—the roof is nearly complete, windows are in, stone cladding is in place, and sections of the exterior walls are bring prepped for metal panels. As the work shifts to the interior, anticipation builds.
The interior walls are framed, so the layout is really taking shape. The risers in the theater are complete, in anticipation of the 500 seats to be installed mid-summer. The overall building is dried in, and work on the inside spaces can move forward quickly.
“This phase of the project is such an exciting time, as all passers-by witness the hourly improvements,” says Jesse Schumacher, CA’s Director of Operations. “The rewards for the crews are huge, as they continue to add the final pieces of flair to the exterior. That energy pushes everyone to do high-quality work.”
Keeping a close eye
CA’s performing arts students and faculty went into the 2020-2021 school year, knowing they wouldn’t have a theater on campus to perform in. (The Froelicher Theatre was demolished last summer to make way for the new Leach Center.) But the pandemic added to the challenges of how to put on a play without a theater. Undeterred, our student actors deserve a standing ovation for the creativity and commitment they have exhibited while rehearsing, building stage sets, and performing during this school year (both virtually and in front of limited live audiences).
Students have sung on the Schotters steps, played their instruments in the Sculpture Garden, and acted before audiences in the choir room.This year’s musical Urinetown was performed outdoors, with the steps of Schotters being their stage. Still, there is probably no group more looking forward to the opening of the Leach Center than the Theater Department faculty and students. Theater Department Director Steve Scherer checks on the building’s progress at least twice a week.
“One of my favorite musicals is a show called Baby. It tracks three couples of varying age through the trials and tribulations of bringing a new life into the world. Every time I walk past the new theater, I feel like I’m watching something being created—a new life coming into the world. With this comes excitement, joy, and a little anxiety for this new ‘life’. I am so excited to see where this baby will go in the future, and I am confident CA will prove to be a good ‘parent.’”
Grand opening events are still in the planning stages. We anticipate being able to hold the 2021-2022 Back-to-School Picnic on campus with the entire CA community. The festivities are sure to include a sneak peek of the Leach Center.