TEMPE, Ariz. — After years of waiting, Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium finally raised the curtain a slew of new bathrooms for female patrons, along with other upgrades, on Tuesday.
Prior to the build, women often had to wait in long lines before shows and during intermission to use the restroom. Those lines are expected to be much shorter, thanks to the additional 70 stalls that were part of the Elevate and Alleviate fundraising campaign.
Gammage also added two new elevators to help audiences to get to the upper level. The elevators are free-standing and will not impede upon the architecture designed by the famed Frank Lloyd Wright.
Beau Dromiak, the design director for Gammage, said the new restrooms were designed to complement the existing structure and to provide guests with a relaxing experience in between acts.
“The whole goal was to keep this distinct but complementary transition from the existing to the new, where you can keep that glow of the show and go into this beautiful restroom that recharges you,” Dromiak said. “You’re not waiting, you’re not getting stressed, and then you head back all refreshed and ready for the show.”
Dromiak said the new design focuses on the “evening experience, which is what Frank Lloyd Wright was all about.”
“[Wright] was thinking about this bridge, this procession up to something very special,” Dromiak said. “We wanted to convey that as you approach the building, as well as when you get up to go to the restroom. It’s a beautiful experience.”
The renovations cost more than $9 million, which was covered by ASU, the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, Gammage board members, other local philanthropists and public donations, per a press release from Gammage.
Gammage has enjoyed a recent string of economic success. Its 2015-2016 Broadway season brought an estimated $100 million economic impact to the Valley. It was the largest such sum recorded in the auditorium’s history.
KTAR’s Sharon Mittelman contributed to this report.
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