The Octorium in Middleton Hall of Science is currently being renovated. Miriam Wertz, assistant director of Physical Plant, said that much of the work is being done by the maintenance staff and only the flooring and the installation of the chairs is being done by outsourced workers.
However, according to Butch Breedlove, director of Physical Plant, they have had to bring in a few other people to sign off on some logistics. An engineer had to sign off on tearing down the back wall to provide more stage space, and the Indiana Department of Air Quality had to sign off during the process of redoing the floor and the ceiling because of the insulation material.
Maintenance is currently working on painting the ceiling and the walls.
“Then we will start hanging light fixtures,” Breedlove said. “In the midst of that, the flooring guys are coming in late next week…Then after that, the carpet people will be in. Then the very last thing will be the chairs.”
During the construction of the structure, a new sound booth was constructed in the back corner of the Octorium, out of the way from the entrance. “Before, you walked in the back doors and were right there next to the production booth,” Kyle Inman, director of audio services, said. “It will be nice to have it as its own space now." On the sound aspect, Inman talked about how they are getting new speakers for the Octorium. “It just fits the space that we are actually trying to hit with sound,” he said, “Instead of hitting the side walls and ceiling quite as much as we were.” In addition to the sound, Inman added, the renovation will be “giving a cleaner looking space.” The lighting will also be much different. “They are very bright,” Inman said, “So in this whole place I think there is only going to be five lights.” The five brighter lights will be for classroom use. There will be softer and more decorative lights for events like Vespers and theater performances. “There's such a big scope of what it has to do,” Derrick Null, technical director of the Everest Rohrer (ER) Chapel/Fine Arts Center – Auditorium, said. “It makes it difficult in some sense.” Null is also a part of the renovation team. Because of the many different uses, multiple different features, such as the lighting, must be built in to accommodate the different departments that will use the Octorium. Null talked about one of the extra features that was added to accommodate the theatre performances that will take place there. “[The theater Department] was stuck with how the lights were,” Null said, “But now, since the ceiling has been ripped out, we are adding extra hanging positions, so they can bring some of their equipment from the ER that they own over to the Octorium to make it an even better experience for them. They can do a lot more. Make the shows look a little bit smoother. There is more space [on stage]; the back wall is being ripped out.” Dry erase boards will be placed in the front to accommodate lectures that take place in the Octorium and will be hidden behind the curtains for other events. A level handicap section has also been added to accommodate people with those needs. “There will be places for wheelchairs and it will have one companion chair,” Breedlove said. “All these different aspects and uses of the Octorium will be improved upon with this renovation,” Null said. According to Wertz, all the renovation must be done by the end of May because there is a conference coming in at the end of May and then a dedication is in June.