Peabody gets facelift
Peabody Auditorium, located across the street from Beeson Hall, is currently undergoing renovations that cost upwards of $600,000.
The renovations will improve accessibility, add more seating space and stimulate versatility in an otherwise single-purpose building.
“This renovation has been needed for a long time,” said Rick Ruark, GC associate director for planning and business services. “The last renovation was made in the 1970s. All the seating was mounted, the raked [inclined] floor seating was mounted and immobile, and there weren’t even any windows in the building. The whole place relied entirely on electricity for lighting.”
Having the floor on an incline also created difficulty to use the building for different events. Therefore, for reasons of comfort, the project will completely redesign the floor.
“We ripped the floors out completely,” said Phil Best, project manager. “Before we got here, the auditorium floor seating arrangement was inclined. We figured we could improve functionality of the building if we made the seating area flat.”
Although the raked seating arrangement in Peabody was standard for an auditorium, it certainly did not guarantee convenience.
“Being able to move chairs and tables in and out of Peabody to make room for events would be a lot easier if the floor was at,” said Best. In addition to redesigning the floor and installing movable furniture, the project will also line the building with windows, adding natural sunlight to the interior.
The project started in August and is projected to be completed in late November. The project is costly; construction costs are approximately $380,000. Total costs for the project are over $600,000.
Built in 1937, Peabody Auditorium is one of the oldest buildings at GC. Great American writer and GC alumna Flannery O’Connor, who was raised in Milledgeville, mentions Peabody in a few of her stories.
“Peabody has been here since before Flannery was here,” said Bruce Gentry, an O’Connor scholar. “An unspecified auditorium turns up in a few of her stories. It is presumably Peabody.”