Created: 06/18/2014 10:34 PM KAALtv.com
By: Meghan Reistad
Renovation has started inside the Mayo Civic Center auditorium, arena and presentation hall. Construction started last week, but plans have been in progress for years.
The arena opened in 1986, and the auditorium in 1938.
“People say to me all the time, ‘This is so neat to come back to this venue. I remember playing in this venue when I was a senior in high school,’” said Director of Facility Operations David Silker.
With the building’s long history, some challenges have been encountered in the renovation process.
“Some hurdles that we have to get over being that the building as built in 1938,” said Sean Dols from Knutson Construction.
Even with a few setbacks, construction is still on track, set to be done by Labor Day.
“Pretty exciting to finally get to this point after so many years of waiting for renovations and improvements to the facility,” said Silker.
“It’s going to bring economic impact, expanded local opportunities to participate in the center and it’s just going to bring a new vibrancy to downtown,” said John Beltz from the Mayo Civic Center Commission.
The renovation is tackling few big projects, one being reupholstering nearly 3000 seats in the arena. With that many seats, organizers say it’s important to remember the environment.
“It could be in the landfill for 100 years maybe. It’s primarily plastic and it just doesn’t disintegrate,” said Rick Young from Cy Young Industries.
After the old foam is removed from the seats, it is sent to a manufacturer in Austin to be recycled for new products.
“We’re not filling up the landfills with foam that doesn’t deteriorate very fast,” said Young.
It’s a big project, but the outcome is expected to bring benefits to the community.
“I think that, not only for the residents of Rochester, but for all of Southeastern Minnesota, people come to this venue to enjoy all types of entertainment,” said Silker.