Renovations moved up at Marcus Center, closed due to COVID-19

More than 500 events have been canceled at the Marcus Center due to COVID-19. Officials are now changing plans to try to adapt to the pandemic. 

Employees at the Marcus Center Monday, Sept. 21 started the long process of removing all 2,300 seats from Uihlein Hall -- seats that haven't been used in months. 

Marcus Center renovations

 "It’s been and will continue to be a difficult year for us," Kendra Whitlock Ingram, Marcus Center president/CEO.

With more than 500 events canceled due to the coronavirus, officials are looking for opportunity in the empty hall -- re-arranging renovation plans to do things like replacing the seats when they are already closed. 

Kendra Whitlock Ingram

Kendra Whitlock Ingram

"This project wasn’t meant to be done until somewhere in 2023, 2024, but again, with the venue closed for a period of time, and thinking about bringing audiences back, to several thousand people together, coming back to a venue where you have aisles and more wheelchair-accessible seats was something that was really important for us," said Whitlock Ingram.

Phase One of renovations now includes investing in technology to be able to livestream shows -- a step toward returning to the theater. 

"Frankly, we’re looking forward to coming back to live performance and bringing people back to live performance," said Whitlock Ingram.

Marcus Center

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android

They are hoping to start filling the seats by holding smaller capacity shows sometime this fall. 

Phase One of the renovations also includes enhanced cleaning practices.