Since it was built in 1969, generations of students have enjoyed the facilities the Hart Building has to offer. As the home to many Center Stage events, the fitness center, Wellness Center, campus pool, and racquetball courts, the Hart Building is truly a social center on BYU-Idaho’s campus.
Over the past few years, the Hart Building has undergone some needed renovations. These projects and additions are designed to improve the facilities and ensure the safety of its future patrons for generations to come.
Since the completion of phase two in the fall of 2020, which included moving the dance studios from the Manwaring Center to the Hart Building, crews have begun phase three of construction. This last phase focuses on the following areas: the Hart auditorium, locker rooms, and overall interior remodeling of the building such as the north lobby.
The Hart Auditorium was originally built as a sporting venue when Ricks College students played intercollegiate sports. Although Student Activities still utilizes the court for intramural sports activities, this renovation will better accommodate Center Stage events, dance performances, and other ecclesiastical gatherings that now take place in the Hart. To accommodate the large number of patrons, the entire auditorium will be equipped with stronger structural improvements underneath the gym floor. Curtains will also be added to customize seating by sectioning off designated areas according to the needs of the various performances.
Other improvements to the auditorium focus on updating ADA accessibility, such as adding two new entrance and exit points and widening both the stairwells and the aisles between seats. The new configuration will allow those with disabilities to easily attend events in the auditorium. The stage itself is also widening to allow for more performance space.
The phase three remodel will also improve both men’s and women’s locker room facilities. The original design of the locker rooms featured one long hallway of lockers. To provide more privacy, the new design will break up the locker rooms into sections. In addition, students and employees will have their own separate, designated locker rooms.
The final project being completed under phase three is the remodeling of the north lobby of the Hart Building. This project will include a larger ticket office to allow convenient and efficient services for future events. The west side of the remodeled lobby will also include a new, updated display case to feature Ricks College athletic history and memorabilia.
The main auditorium and locker rooms are on schedule for completion by October 2021, however, some work in the Hart Building will continue until the spring of 2022.
Andy Johnson, director of architecture and construction management services, said he believes these renovations will benefit the lives of current and future students that will come to BYU-Idaho.
“The Hart is one of the older buildings on campus now, so the thought process is let’s revitalize, let’s lift, and make it last for years to come,” Johnson said.
As the university works toward its goals to provide wholesome and uplifting activities for students during their time at BYU-Idaho, the administration hopes these construction projects will improve the overall environment on campus.