Usui Civium Decori Urbis 

for the use of the people and the glory of the city.

The City Auditorium is the culmination of community-driven efforts to create a large, multi-purpose meeting and entertainment facility for the City of Colorado Springs. In 1922, the City approved the construction of such a building, and, in 1923, the building was completed and opened to the public.

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Colorado Springs City Auditorium

The structure itself is large, with overall dimensions of 226 feet by 160 feet with a main floor footprint area of 28,500 square feet, not including the sub-grade boiler room and original coal storage area.  The building encompasses over 40,000 square feet on its many levels and houses not only the main arena space that can seat up to 2,400, but also the Lon Chaney Theatre which seats about 235.

The structure itself is large, with overall dimensions of 226 feet by 160 feet with a main floor footprint area of 28,500 square feet, not including the sub-grade boiler room and original coal storage area.  The building encompasses over 40,000 square feet on its many levels and houses not only the main arena space that can seat up to 2,400, but also the Lon Chaney Theatre which seats about 235.

Originally, the Auditorium had several additional meeting rooms, which have now been converted to office, restroom and snack bar uses. The stage area has a full overhead fly area that rises to over 50 feet above the stage. It also has dock storage and basement-level dressing rooms.

A Historical Building 

Two events served to enhance the building’s original design. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) administered several mural painting campaigns across the country. Within the lobby of the Auditorium, at either end above the box office windows, two WPA murals were painted by two Broadmoor Academy artists.  Archie Musick’s mural depicts the grueling work of mining, while Tabor Utley’s celebrates the arts, which was possible in part due to the community wealth brought about by mining. These murals exist to this day and were restored in 2003.

Once the Auditorium opened to the public, its flexibility in the programs it could accommodate allowed for a wide variety of events. In the 1940s, a local promoter, Abe Marylander, brought wrestling exhibitions and boxing matches to the facility. As the years passed, the Auditorium has hosted various musical concerts, basketball games, graduations, political rallies, many conventions and trade shows, professional wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, roller derby and more.

In 1976, a Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, constructed in 1928, was removed from its original location in the Burns Opera House, which was being demolished, and installed in the Auditorium. The Auditorium, which originally was designed to accommodate such an instrument, has utilized the organ since its installation for a wide variety of events, including weekly lunchtime recitals to accompanying the screenings of silent films. This original Wurlitzer Opus is the last remaining original Colorado Springs Theatre Pipe Organ and is maintained in nearly perfect condition. The organ is known across the United States and has been played by many of the top theatre organists in the country.

In 1995, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City Auditorium is considered historically significant as a manifestation of community planning and development efforts that produced a valued public resource, beginning in 1922. It is architecturally significant as the final collaborative effort of two locally significant master architects, and as the last local representation of publicly owned Classical Revival architecture.

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Main Theater - Performance - 7 Copyright
Recital Hall Flat (Above)

A Reimagined Vision & Future

Through the years, there have been multiple studies conducted on how to best operate and renovate the City Auditorium. In 2006, the international food and support service provider Compass Facility Management Inc. was engaged by the City to study the historic nature of the building; develop potential marketing and operating options; and prepare an extensive cost estimate for major facility repairs, renovations, and upgrades to be funded by the City and Downtown Partnership. The study suggested the cost of $15 million (dollars at that time) minimum is needed to address capital needs and upgrade the facility with life safety and code requirements.

Future Plans
The proposed renovation plan includes a multiuse rehabilitation of the building exterior and a redesign of the interior of the facility, expanding its useable floor area from 40,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet.  An addition will be built on the south side, and two new floor levels on the inside will replace the current arena seating.  The partial basement will include an orchestra pit, a versatile and multi-faceted event/theater venue, and commercial food and beverage partners. The ground floor will host retail and community partners.  The main performance venue will face the preserved proscenium arch and seat about 600 with a flat floor option for up to 730 people.