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Need for Renovation
In 2000, a master plan was completed by Semple Brown Roberts Architects from Denver, specialists in theater design and renovation. The plan identified the needs for the building to be renovated and updated to current code and utilization program. The project fell short of the funding and was set on a shelf for a decade.

A group of students lead by Lindsay Buxman and other Sarah Shaw dancers from all area high schools spoke to the Pueblo City Council about upgrading Memorial Hall, especially the stage on which they danced. Their request came at a time when City Hall was being renovated and a new roof was recently added to both City Hall and Memorial Hall. These students added a compelling narrative as to the importance of Memorial Hall has had in the history of Pueblo as well as the need for changes and possibilities for future use if it were to be renovated.

The Pueblo City Council acted with the approval of Ordinance 8220 on June 28, 2010 to place the issue on the ballot in November. The Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority approved a resolution in support of the special municipal election on July 13, 2010. Semple Brown Design was hired back to prepare the proposal’s construction estimate. The ballot item was to authorize the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority to issue new bonds in the amount of $10 million for the remodeling, restoring, and maintaining of the historic Memorial Hall and to amend the current tax code and extend using the vendor fee, that portion of the sales tax that goes to businesses to collect the tax to finance the project.

The approval of this ballot issue provided the funding for the much needed restoration and renovation of the Pueblo Memorial Hall Auditorium. Memorial Hall is a linchpin between major investments that Pueblo has already made such as the Pueblo Justice Center, the Main Street parking garage, Art Center, HARP, Union Avenue, convention center, and other downtown development. A renovated Memorial Hall will add critical mass of activity and investment to the community.

Memorial Hall Renovation
The existing Memorial Hall has a footprint of approximately 14,000 square feet, with a main floor (orchestra) level, balcony, and basement. The proposed addition has a footprint of approximately 3,500 square feet, with main floor and basement levels. The renovation and expansion of Memorial Hall is designed to achieve the several primary goals.

Life Safety and Code Compliance
The building will be brought to current standards for life, safety, and code compliance. Improvements will include fire sprinklers, new passenger and freight elevators, ADA-compliant seating locations, restrooms, dressing rooms and an emergency generator.

Expansion of its Programmatic Range
Memorial Hall was significantly limited in its current programming capability due to its lack of air conditioning, its small stage size, its lack of support spaces, and its rudimentary performance systems. Once renovated, the hall will be able to operate year-round, and to host a range of activities that will include touring musicals, conference presentations, concerts, dance performances, organ recitals, and film / video presentations. The stage area will be increased, the orchestra pit will be automated, and the performance lighting, audio, and rigging systems will be improved to state-of-the-art standards. The addition of support spaces such as dressing rooms, loading dock, and control booths will provide, not only convenience, but sorely-needed technical support.

Audience Comfort and Service
A new 1600-seat layout will improve legroom and sight lines for patrons. New restrooms on multiple levels will reduce waiting time. A new concession area will provide refreshments before performances and at intermission. Air conditioning that meets strict acoustical requirements will increase comfort and allow year-round operations.

Acoustical Improvements
The hall’s new audience circulation layout will improve its isolation from outside noise. The new mechanical and electrical systems will be effectively isolated and dampened to support a quiet performance environment.

Historic Restoration
The hall’s original windows and doors will be restored and/or replaced to restore the building’s original appearance.

Once renovated, Memorial Hall will once again assume its historic role as the anchor venue for cultural and community assemblies in Pueblo and Southern Colorado.

Update of Renovation for 2012
The renovation project started on June 11, 2012. HW Houston is the General Contractor awarded the contract in the amount of $6.9 million. The project includes the renovation of the existing hall and construction of the building addition, loading docks and the utility enclosure. The project architect was Semple Brown Design from Denver. The City’s project manager is Bill Zwick from the Department of Planning and Community Development.

The construction team was ordered the task to investigate value engineering to reduce any unnecessary construction costs. A cost saving of approximately $404,000 was accomplished by their efforts. This did not lessen the quality of the project but assisted in finding areas of savings for the city. Since the cost of only the base bid items were within budget the design alternates were not afforded in the contract. These items were considered enhancement which would make the project that much better.

The Memorial Hall Stakeholders Committee decided to campaign to raise the additional funds in the amount of $400,000 for items such as acoustical windows, exterior lighting, decorative site furnishings, colored concrete patrons plaza, historic interior lighting restoration, and accent lighting. A fund raising campaign is under way until March of 2013 to afford the enhancement for the building. Funds have been committed by donation from foundations, local institutions, and individuals and are at approximately 60% of the $400,000 goal. A large amount of gratitude should go to the motivation of the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority staff and the Stakeholders Fund Raising Committee.

As of December 2012, 90% of the demolition for the renovation of the Hall has been completed. This leaves the remaining 5 months for the reconstruction and completion of finishes within the building. The building addition is approximately 40% complete. The infrastructure, utilities, foundations, walls, and roofing structure will be completed by the end of this year. In the next 5 months we will see the installation of the clay tile roof, brick and precast masonry to the addition building and sidewalks, street scape, and parking lot improvements constructed. The interior finishes of the addition and the Hall will also be completed during this time. The time-frame and deadline for completion for the project is by the end of May, 2013.

A grand reopening ceremony with various performances and events is tentatively being scheduled for the week of Memorial Day Holiday with other opening events to be scheduled to the year’s end. Global Spectrum Company has been hired by the city to operate and schedule performances for the hall. Already several events are being planned for the month of June. Please contact Brian Hoffman at 719-583-4959 or by email for interest in scheduling an event.