University Communications

Teaching Theatre to be "Topped Off" September 5

August 28, 2013 | Wendy Bredhold
Wendy Bredhold
Media Relations Specialist University Communications 812-461-5259
Article Photo
Rafters are raised on the USI Teaching Theatre.
Photo Credit: Photography Services

A topping off ceremony for the University of Southern Indiana’s $17.2 million Teaching Theatre will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, September 5, at the construction site on University Boulevard.

During a topping off ceremony, the last steel girder is hoisted into place. The ceremony is a construction industry custom recognizing the efforts of the construction workers.

As in previous such ceremonies, the University community will have the opportunity to sign the beam before it is raised into place. The beam will be available for signing from noon Tuesday, September 3 until the start of the ceremony the following Thursday.

The ceremony preceding the beam-raising will include a short musical program; signing of the beam by the USI Board of Trustees (who are meeting that day) and other administrators; and words from Ted Ziemer, chair of the Board of Trustees, and President Linda L. M. Bennett.

The public is invited to the ceremony. Refreshments will be served.

In the case of inclement weather, a ceremony will be held in Carter Hall Room D.

About the USI Teaching Theatre

The Teaching Theatre is being constructed using locally-sourced and recycled materials such as those utilized in the construction of University Center East – clay pipe from Can Clay Corporation of Cannelton, chair legs from Jasper Chair Company, and Bedford limestone. In addition, the theatre will include a sound baffle system with acoustic panels created with Toyota Sienna dashboards donated by Princeton-based Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc.

The Teaching Theatre's red sandstone exterior is an homage to the Smithsonian Institution's Castle. Built in 1855, it is the oldest building on the National Mall. Congressman Robert Dale Owen (son of Robert Owen, founder of the second utopian experiment at New Harmony) was chair of the Smithsonian Building Committee. His brother, geologist David Dale Owen, recommended it be built from red sandstone. Both Owens resided in New Harmony for a time, and USI is one of the sponsors of Historic New Harmony, an initiative to create and retain interest in the history and current life of New Harmony. 

Like UC East, the Teaching Theatre was designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York. It will have a thrust stage with additional staging areas incorporated into the walls, a shallow proscenium to allow for greater sightlines, exceptional natural acoustics, and state-of-the-art light and sound technology.

“We will become the premiere theatre program in the state and region,” said Elliot Wasserman, chair of the Department of Performing Arts. “We already have the programs and now we’ll have the facilities to match.”

View a virtual tour of the new Teaching Theatre.

The Teaching Theatre is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014. 

University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712 Phone 812/464-8600
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