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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State Mankato unveils revamped ballroom

Renovated Centennial Student Union Ballroom will be unveiled with Big Top Chautauqua performance Oct. 28.

By Tanner Kent, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 10/28/2011]

The $4.5 million renovation to the Centennial Student Union Ballroom will be unveiled to students and the public during a spate of activities that begin today.

Minnesota State Mankato students paid for the renovation through student fees. Work was completed this month — just in time for President Richard Davenport’s announcement of a $75 million fundraising campaign on Thursday.

During the event, visitors received the first peek at the new ballroom’s state-of-the-art perimeter projection system — the first such system in any public facility in Minnesota. The projection system features 17 projectors and 10 screens as well as surround sound.

The ballroom also features an engraved Kasota stone wall, an interactive photo wall and an advanced lighting system that allows for synchronized LED lighting as well as high-intensity and dimmable lighting.

“We hope this space will be a source of pride, camaraderie and enrichment for all of our students,” said Laurie Woodward, Centennial Student Union director.

Activities begin tonight with a performance from Big Top Chautauqua, an acclaimed 10-member orchestra from Bayfield, Wis. The show includes a song-and-photo stroll through Minnesota history and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom. Tickets at the door are $8 for students, $16 for adults and $5 for children under 10.

A public ribbon-cutting will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

And activities will conclude at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday with a multimedia presentation from Jimmy Chin, a Mankato native and MSU graduate who works as a photographer for National Geographic. Chin’s presentation, “Both Sides of the Lens,” explores the photographer’s many National Geographic assignments, including a May 2011 cover story about rock-climbing in Yosemite National Park. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for children under 10.

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