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Despite seat setbacks, committee confident Civic Auditorium will be ready in time


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IDAHO FALLS — It’s going to come down to the wire to finish renovations at the Idaho Falls Civic Center For the Performing Arts before the first show this fall.

Construction was going along smoothly with only the occasional bumps that come with every big project, until the company providing the new seats suddenly shut down.

“Seating Concepts came out, they did the measurements, they knew what fabric we wanted and we were told for a good 12 weeks that things were in production,” Idaho Falls General Services administrator Chandra Witt told “Then we found out that they went out of business and shut their doors overnight.”

Since Seating Concepts went out of business, the city found Norcon Industrustries Inc.

“Norcon came in and were onsight the next day as soon as they realized our problem,” Witt said.

RELATED: Civic Center to close for major renovations

Norcon told the Civic Auditorium Committee they could have the seats finished in seven weeks. That puts the timeline right at the end of October. The Idaho Falls Symphony is scheduled for its first performance in the newly renovated auditorium on Nov. 10.

“I am confident that they’re going to come through,” Witt said, explaining that one point of concern has to do with the fabric.

“The fabric of the seat is very particular,” she said. The hard part has been getting enough of it for 1,800 seats.”

Where the renovations are now toured the auditorium to see how renovations are going.

Along with the seat fabric, the Civic Auditorium Committee has been meticulous in updating and beautifying the auditorium while maintaining its historical integrity down to the tiniest details.

Prior to beginning the renovations, the committee received an acoustical study with recommendations on how to maximize the auditorium’s sound. One recommendation was to install sound absorbing material on the back wall behind the last row of seats.

civic center
Renovation concept drawing for Civic Auditorium

The committee spent a great deal of time discussing how to add the material without flattening the wall. One detail many may not have noticed is the back has a subtle wave to it. The acoustical study recommended flattening the wall, but the committee is determined to keep the wave because it’s a historical part of the facility.

During the tour, Witt and the painter discussed how to get the perfect color for the banisters so they will match the copper accent that is going along the edge of the proscenium arch – the auditorium’s iconic arch that sits over the stage.

An exterior LED screen will be installed outside of the building to advertise upcoming events and, despite the deadline crunch for the renovations, it will be worth the wait.