Local News

BTI Gives $3.1 Million to Expanded Memorial Auditorium

Posted March 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Raleigh's expanded Memorial Auditorium complex will be named the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, thanks to a $3.1 million gift from the telecommunications company. The money will help build performance halls that will flank the present auditorium.

Memorial Auditorium, which anchors the downtown area, opened in 1932 to honor the state's war veterans. Over the decades it has been the site of many live performances, but in recent years has undergone both renovation and expansion as the region has grown more populous and demands on the facilities have grown.

Each of the two performance halls that would compose the BTI Center also provide naming opportunities for substantial donors. The 1700-seat music hall and a 500-seat theater, along with gardens, the orchestra pit, backstage areas and sound and light systems can promote a company or honor an individual.

The new halls would flank the present 2300-seat Memorial Auditorium. The North Carolina Symphony would perform in the new concert hall, freeing up the Memorial Auditorium segment for more touring shows.

BTI will donate $2.5 million in cash over 10 years, starting in 1998. An additional $500,000 will be made in in-kind contributions, and the final $100,000 will be paid in 2008.

If construction rolls through without serious hitches, the city hopes to open the expanded center with a gala party New Year's Eve 1999.