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Salt Lake County Christens Final Phases of Ballet West Centre and Capitol Theater Renovation

As the Very Reverend Rick Lawson threw a ceremonial Champagne bottle against a huge retaining wall, it became official. The Salt Lake County Center for the Arts and Ballet West celebrated a milestone in the Capitol Theater renovation currently underway. Newly appointed Ballet West Executive Director, Scott Altman called the christening a watershed moment in the history of the company.

“We believe the Jesse Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre and the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theater will be an important anchor in the Salt Lake cultural core, attracting new business and audience members, and increasing the level of economic development in the area,” says Altman.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the proposed December 1st completion of the theater renovation is on-schedule despite a loss of $4.1 million dollars from other sources. He says private funders increased their contributions to fill the void.

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Credit Bob Nelson
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Renovation of Capitol Theater includes expanded access for disabled patrons of the variety of productions.

The lobby of the Capitol Theater will be expanded into the Ballet West Academy next door. Former executive director of the ballet, Johann Jacobs says safety and access issues will be solved and the academy can expand from accepting 200 students per year to 600.

“It’s rare for a company to be working and rehearsing in the theater that it’ll be performing in, in the same facility," says Jacobs. "So that is a very, very special opportunity for Ballet West,” he says.

The other planned renovations include a new heating and air conditioning system, better sight lines with the stage raised four inches, and adjustable acoustics for the various types of performances.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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