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Ruth Eckerd Hall Reveals Approved Plans For Last Phase Of $19 Million Dollar Renovation

Published: October 24, 2017

The Ruth Eckerd Hall Board of Directors and Zev Buffman, Ruth Eckerd Hall President & CEO announced today the approved plans for the final phase of the $19 million renovation at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

“When we began the renovations of the grand lady in 2015, we started on a journey of bringing the Hall to 21st century standards, to create an experience not only for our patrons, but also for the performers,” commented Buffman.  “Now, as the foundation for this final phase begins, it is exceeding all of our expectations as to what the Hall will be for generations to come.”

This construction phase, which began this Spring, includes the addition of new arrival and departures lanes, from four to six lanes, beginning at McMullen Booth Road to the Hall, re-landscaping and LED lighting the entire arrival area and parking lots, all new signage, a giant marquis, reconfiguration of the Main/West Lobby entrance and traffic pattern to enter and exit the parking areas. In addition, the box office and administrative entrances will also be covered and reconfigured.

Upon completion of the exterior, the interior renovation and major reconstruction will begin with the expansion of the West Lobby itself to six times its present size, which will include closed-circuit, high-definition monitors throughout the space that will televise the performances on the main stage, a brand new Cabaret Theatre stage and dining area.  The cabaret seating area will enable up to 250 guests to drink, dine and be entertained prior to each main stage performance by the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts students performing concert selections.  The members VIP lounge will double in size becoming a split level all glass space to accommodate the unprecedented growth of Ruth Eckerd Hall memberships.

Along with the 34 year-old orchestra shell being completely re-engineered to preserve the amazing acoustics of the Hall to accommodate the needs of The Florida Orchestra, new sound equipment, floors, painting, as well as upgrades in the West and East Galleries will be done.

“We had so much to do, the challenge was to NEVER lose a single performance. No down time. No business interruption. The task is like rebuilding an airport or a Hospital – open 24/7. Said Buffman

“It is like “How do you eat an elephant? – ONE BITE AT A TIME”. Buffman closed.

The first phase began in 2015, when the Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall began and completed a $1.5 million dollar renovation which included a new ticket office, lobby and bar area, state-of-the-art upgrades in lighting and sound and a variety of seven new and available seating configurations. Since opening, The Murray has been used and booked nearly 80% of the time.

The next phase included the recreation of the 350 capacity Margarete Heye Great Room.  The aesthetically pleasing décor includes new paint, carpets, floors and bar area, plus upgraded lights, sound and seating.  The extensive kitchen renovation included a new walk-in refrigerator with attached walk-in freezer, new epoxy flooring throughout the kitchen, a new dishwasher with FRP covered wall, four new ovens, a new tilt skillet, range, grill, cold and hot boxes and a new wall to block noise from the entryway to the kitchen.

A new HVAC system was installed throughout the building that not only keeps patrons and performers comfortable, it lowered energy costs and usage.

To date, the Capital Campaign has raised a total of $13.5 million dollars.  The additional $5.5 million dollars will be raised by the end of the year.


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