An ariel shot of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. The center recently completed its Bridge to the Future project, which made several upgrades to the facility. The $11.4 million project was completed with funding from several donors and was led by ELS Architecture and Design out of Berkeley.

The Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, the nonprofit that owns and operates Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC), has completed its $11.4 million multi-phase Bridge to the Future renovation project, resulting in major physical upgrades to the 44-year-old facility and increases its accessibility, safety and security.

“We are thrilled to share the upgraded facilities at LBC with our visitors,” said Board Chairperson Paul Wilcock. “These improvements were all made with the needs of our patrons and community in mind and we, of course, are deeply grateful for the support of our funders who made it all possible. Their strong commitment to the center and our mission to enrich, educate and entertain our community through the arts will have a lasting impact on LBC and the Santa Rosa community for generations to come.”

Both the interior and exterior of the center have been enlivened through major upgrades to the Lytton Rancheria Grand Lobby and first-floor restrooms; significant improvements to front-of-house, back-of-house, stage and technical capability in the 1600-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater; installation of the first-ever elevators in the building; the creation of the new 18,000 square foot, fenced-in Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Grand Plaza; development of a first-ever balcony concession area and new built-in concession service on the ground floor; renovation and upgrades to the multi-use Joan and Mack Schwing Salon (formerly Fireside Room); the creation and development of the outdoor sculpture garden; new roof and site-screens; paint for the entire building; sprinkler systems throughout; and the expansion of ADA upgrades.

The project was led by Berkeley-based ELS Architecture and Design, whose work at the center began with the 2010 renovation of the Lytton Rancheria Grand Lobby and continued with the 2013 renovation of the Ruth Finley Person Theater. ELS’ past theatrical projects include the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, San Jose’s California Theatre, and the Roda Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Construction was performed by Shook & Waller Construction, Inc. of Windsor.

The Bridge to the Future renovation project has been made possible by many donors, including the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation, Betty Freeman, GK Hardt Trust, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Lytton Rancheria—Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, Marcia and Gary Nelson, Susan and Alan Preston, Joan and Mack Schwing, Alan and Susan Seidenfeld, Sutter Health, The Swayne Family, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Trione, Wilhelm and Edith Wurst and an anonymous donor.

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