Those attending the 44th Annual Oppenheimer Lecture on Monday will also be the first to take in the sights of sounds of a different experience — the newly-renovated, Los Alamos High School’s Duane E. Smith Auditorium.
Theater Manager Ross Mason and his crew of contractors and student techs have been working on renovating the theater’s interior since June.
The aged structure was due for a massive overhaul, the seats themselves were last replaced in 1980.
Those familiar with the theater’s operation said little piles of the aged foam from the chairs would have to occasionally be swept out from underneath the chairs — that’s how old and broken down the chairs were. “They should last another 40 years, if the kids take care of them,” Mason said.
The cost of the chairs was defrayed somewhat through a special donor campaign, where donors could pay $250 for a plaque to be placed on a chair in the 52-seat center section. While all the new chairs are roomy and comfortable, the donor chairs are slightly wider and bigger in the seat. The armrests also fold up. According to Mason, the bid for the chair project was about $159,000.
Mason said now with the new chairs, people will be able to worry about the show and not their comfort.