Memorial Auditorium’s fate unsure

Concordia’s Memorial Auditorium is undergoing a structural engineering analysis over the next several months in order to determine a long-term response to uneven snow loads on the roof.

The ongoing analysis will cause the facility to be closed for periods of time, force certain events to be relocated and there will also be temporary closings due to weather events.

Memorial Auditorium opened in 1952 and has since served as a multipurpose facility. It functions as Concordia’s main athletic building, performance hall and a large-scale space for educational events.

Last winter, the facility underwent a review when athletic director Rich Glas noticed how some basketball players who were not usually able to dunk were successfully dunking. This led to the realization that the hoop was lower than normal.

Linda Brown, vice president for finance, explained that the Fargo-Moorhead area in recent years has received more snow than in the past, causing the roof to depress.

Wayne Flack, facilities management director, said snow accumulation will continuously be monitored throughout the winter, and the college will close the facility “even if there’s a remote concern.”

Schedule changes will be the biggest issue.

Most athletic events will remain in the facility as scheduled since they can be easily moved if a last-minute change needs to occur. Glas explained he is currently talking with other local venues in the event that a change is necessary.

Events that cannot be easily moved will be rescheduled in advance, such as musical events, including this year’s 87th annual Christmas concerts.

The concerts have been rescheduled to take place Dec. 13-15 in the Fargo Civic Center. The times remain the same.

Tim Wollenzien, director of cultural events and music organizations, explained that the new venue’s smaller space will provide for a more intimate experience.

Despite this venue change, René Clausen, the Concordia Choir director, explained that those involved in planning the concerts will work to produce a similar show.

Other music and cultural events are still in the process of determining alternate schedules and venues.

Events Concordia hosts will be made on an event-by-event basis.

Scheduling and venue updates will be available on Concordia’s website.

A full report of the analysis is expected to be released by spring 2014.

“This is a learning experience for all of us,” said John Roberts, chair of the department of music.


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