Heartland Renaissance: Two Landmark Performing Arts Centers Set to Open at University of Iowa

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State-of-the-Art Hancher Auditorium and Voxman Music Building Nearing Completion

“Being part of the team that transformed the fine arts campus for generations to come is immensely rewarding," said Randy Clarahan, Construction Executive for Mortenson.

Emerging from historic 2008 floods that devastated much of the arts campus at the University of Iowa, a new Hancher Auditorium and Voxman Music Building are near completion on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. Mortenson Construction acted as Construction Manager for both replacement facilities, which will open to the public later this summer, with students expected to start classes and performances at the venues this fall.

Breaking ground three years ago, the $176 million new Hancher performing arts center, designed by Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, will include a large 1,800-seat, proscenium theater, front of house and back of house support spaces, rehearsal room and administrative offices. The exterior of the 192,000-square-foot complex is composed of 14,000 brushed steel panels.

“Working with the project team on the design and construction of our new Hancher has been a once in a lifetime experience. We are grateful for everyone who has played a role in this project. Together we can celebrate the opening, and know that Hancher Auditorium and the arts at the University of Iowa, will enrich the lives of University of Iowa students and Iowans from across the state for generations to come,” said Chuck Swanson, Executive Director for Hancher.

The glass-lined, six-level $152 million Voxman Music Building will reunite under one roof the 450 music students that have been meeting in several interim facilities across campus since the floodwaters irreparably damaged their previous home.

“Bringing our music students together under one roof again for the first time in eight years is something we are all excited about,” said David Gier for Voxman. “The new space is simply exceptional.”

The new facility will have audiences marveling at the 700-seat concert hall that includes LMN Architects' award-winning theatroacoustic sound and light system, and a one-of-a-kind German organ. The impressive interior will be matched by the building’s exterior, which features a new style of twisted terra cotta.

“Construction of Hancher Auditorium and Voxman Music Building involved working in close collaboration with on-site contractors, architects, consultants, university facilities personnel and faculty, and supporters of the performing arts,” said Randy Clarahan, Construction Executive for Mortenson. “Being part of the team that transformed the fine arts campus for generations to come is immensely rewarding. Mortenson has been conducted projects in Iowa since 1979, and these projects were led by dedicated team members in the Iowa City area.”

About Mortenson
Founded in 1954, Mortenson is a U.S.-based, family-owned construction and development services company. As one of the nation's top builders, Mortenson provides a complete range of construction services, including planning, program management, preconstruction, general contracting, construction management and design-build. The company also is a leader in real estate development, developing all asset types.

Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle and in Canada. For more information, visit mortenson.com.

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Cameron Snyder
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