Jones College celebrates reopening of remodeled auditorium

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium has held thousands of events over nearly 55 years since it opened in 1969. The first group of performers and the public that attended the Christmas with the Arts program on Friday, December 1st, enjoyed a newly remodeled auditorium. However, before the doors were opened to the public, college administrators and fine arts faculty celebrated by cutting a big red ribbon.

“We held the last event in the M.P. Bush Auditorium last December at the Concert Choir’s Christmas concert. A year later, we’ve re-opened it tonight for our Christmas program,” Jones College President Dr. Jesse Smith shared with the audience before the program. “This has been an exciting time and now we’re pleased to offer you an even more spectacular theater experience.”

Dean of the Arts, Music, and Performance College, Bruce Smith said the renovations didn’t just change the look of the auditorium. “We no longer have cinder block walls since we added the sheetrock on the walls making it feel a lot warmer, more modern. Painting the ceiling enhances the lighting, like when we use lasers, and the new sound equipment is in stereo.”

The eight-month renovations included removing the old theater seats and flooring and adding new lighting, a new sound and camera operation station, new carpet, seating, and new railings, as well as drywall in the auditorium, hallways and lobby. Patrons will also notice new lighting and lobby furniture and perhaps fewer seats. The seating capacity in the auditorium was reduced by about 100 to accommodate the new sound and camera booth. Dr. Smith told the audience that by managing the project in-house and using Michael Bradshaw, Assistant to the President for Facilities Management to oversee the project, about one million dollars was saved. The $900,000 remodel was funded primarily by state capital improvement funds.