Breaking Ground For Averett's Pritchett Auditorium

Danville, VA -- Averett's theater building is getting a makeover. Pritchett Auditorium has not been renovated in 20 years. But Thursday, they broke ground for phase one of their major construction project.

Right now they have 17 students majoring in theater, plus others minoring in it. But they hope to grow to about 30 majors. So, they want the building to live up to the department.

For Daniesha Carr, theater means more than a major. Classmates are considered family, and Pritchett Auditorium will always be greater than a building.

"This place represents everything that my dreams are about. It's the place where dreams come true and I just love being here," said Carr.

But the thousands of hours she spends inside these doors will soon be put on hold for months of construction.

"I'm so excited about the renovations. I cannot wait to see how it is going to turn out," said Carr.

University officials have now broken ground on a more than $1.6 million project.

The building will soon have an expanded lobby to the sidewalk, an orchestra pit inside the theater, and various other upgrades.

"It's a statement about the importance of fine arts at Averett," said Tiffany Franks, president of Averett University.

"We're doing a lot of stuff to make our audience more comfortable," said Jackie Finney, chair of theater department.

Not only does this construction benefit the audience but Finney says it means a lot to the students as well.

"I think it shows our students that we care about them and that we are willing to put money into what they want to do," said Finney.

Something Carr appreciates and hopes future theater majors will too.

"Their heart should soar knowing that this is the type of building in which I was able to achieve my goals," said Carr.

The second phase will be adding a black box theater. They hope to be done with the auditorium by the end of the year.