After much work, renovations on a historical landmark are complete.
Now, the public is invited to the grand re-opening of Fremont City Auditorium.
The event is set from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the building at 925 N. Broad St.
A ceremony will start at 10:30 a.m. in the main event space. City staff and members of the Fremont Parks and Recreation advisory committee will be on site to answer questions.
The public is invited to tour the building and see the renovations.
“We really hope the public comes out and sees all the new, amazing updates to the auditorium,” said Nate Schwanke, recreation superintendent. “Our hope is that this renovation will allow the auditorium to be used for the next 50 years and will be of use to all of Fremont.”
The auditorium’s history spans decades.
In 1935 — during the financially miserable times of the Great Depression — local voters approved a $66,000 bond issue. Those funds plus a federal grant were used to pay for construction of the downtown auditorium.
The auditorium was dedicated in 1937.
Since then, the building has served generations of Fremonters, who’ve come here for a host of activities — from wedding receptions to pancake feeds and volleyball games.
After decades of use, the auditorium needed upgrades.
Auditorium renovations include:
- A new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
- A new roof.
- Main floor restrooms with handicap accessibility.
- A dividing wall that will transform the main area into two separate spaces.
- New meeting spaces.
- Added acoustical panels.
- ADA accessible entries and exits.
- A more cater-friendly kitchen.
- A fire sprinkler, something not previously installed because it was grandfathered in as the building was constructed before these automatic systems were required.
The Art Deco-style building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
In May 2018, Fremonters passed a $2 million bond issue with funds going toward auditorium renovation.
Besides funds generated by the bond issue, the city had $750,000 budgeted for the project.
The city also received a $1.125 million grant from the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund for the renovation.
The approximately 28,750-square-foot auditorium includes a main floor that’s 19,506 square feet. The main floor was used as a distribution site and stocked with a host of supplies for people affected by flooding in March 2019.
Construction for the auditorium project began in June 2019.
Kim Koski, who served as director of the parks and recreation department, spearheaded the recent extensive endeavor.
In August 2020, Koski had said how she noticed a night-and-day difference in the building she described as bright and cheery, adding that the historical aspect of the building had been maintained.
Koski was 50 when she died in January.
Fremont Mayor Joey Spellerberg paid tribute to Koski for her work in his state of the city address in February.
The auditorium project is one of several that have occurred in the last year. Projects included heated sidewalks, which were installed at Christensen Field and the Fremont Friendship Center, and a new awning at the center.