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Backdoor Playhouse and Jere Whitson renovations continue through Fall 2017

By Anna McFarland & Asa Costello
On February 8, 2016

Jere Whitson Building will be closed until fall 2017 for renovations, which will include the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success.

According to Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Robert Hodum, the new building will include undergraduate admissions, the office of the registrar, financial aid, academic services, the scholarship office, retention services and advisement services. Jere Whitson previously housed the Alumni Relations office, now located in the new alumni building on Dixie, and extended programs, now in Southwest Hall.

Sustainability Office Manager DeLayne Miller explained the many future changes to the building and the Backdoor Playhouse. All the windows will be replaced, a presentation room will be added, and there will be a new mechanical system, floors, roof, and cupola. According to Miller, the structure of the building will be different including three floors throughout the building and new finishes to maintain the historical character of the interior and exterior. The Backdoor Playhouse will also be renovated with new theater seating and will remain in Jere Whitson.

All stagecraft, costumes, equipment, and props from the Backdoor Playhouse have been moved to Foundation Hall. Foundation Hall will serve as a home for theatre classes, rehearsals, and set designing until the Backdoor Playhouse is fully renovated. The Talon Theatre Auditorium now serves as a space for students to rehearse for productions, open mic nights, improv night, and future small shows. The Theatre Department will be permitted to use Cookeville Performing Arts Center, Dogwood Park, and Derryberry Auditorium for this year’s productions.

When asked if the renovations to Jere Whitson will be a positive change for Tech’s campus, Miller responded:

“Absolutely. I think it will be like a one-stop shop for the students. We’re very excited about how it’s going to look and how we’re going to be using one of the most historical buildings on campus.”

The renovations will cost $4.3 million, according to Vice President for Planning and Finance Claire Stinson. The money will be provided by state capital funding and will include the total renovations and finishes. 

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