From the time it opened in 1972, Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus was one of the premier performance spaces in Iowa. That all changed with the historic flooding of Eastern Iowa in 2008 when the auditorium was flooded beyond repair.
Executive Director Chuck Swanson says he remembers the flooding being surreal.
"We were on a statewide project, and I was with Rubber Band Dance Group touring the state of Iowa," Swanson says. "When we were in Spencer, I got several calls from the staff talking about the flood and talking about the fact that they were going to close down Hancher, and I just didn't believe it. I really didn't think it was going to happen, but by the time we got down to Iowa City, the signs were put on the building, and the padlocks were put on the door."
Eight years later, the UI has finished construction on a new Hancher that will officially open to the public tomorrow, Friday, September 9 with a ribbon cutting, dedication and open houses from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. central time, and then on Sunday the 11th from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a tour of the new facility from Swanson.
"We're high and dry now, and we've made friends with the river. We're anxious to open the doors to the public and share it for years and years to come," he says.