ST. LOUIS – A $100 million project to revitalize Powell Hall, the home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, is in the works. SLSO tells FOX 2 the first phase of construction to expand the site will likely begin in March or April.

Earlier this month, SLSO shared renderings of Powell Hall’s plans and released new details about its vision to expand by 65,000-square feet. The venue, located in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood, is also preparing for some large-scale renovations.

According to SLSO, expansion plans include:

  • A new, 3,660-square foot Education and Learning Center to support a variety of uses, including rehearsal space, educational programs, immersive performances, receptions, and community gatherings
  • A new, three-story lobby with overlooking terraces and enhanced amenities on all levels, connected to Powell Hall’s renovated concert hall and foyer
  • Increased backstage space, offering new amenities for artists, a musician lounge and more instrument storage space
  • New passenger drop-off locations with safer and more accessible entryways
  • Several outdoor green spaces with areas for audiences to gather

SLSO will also move forward with the following renovation efforts:

  • Reduced seating capacity from nearly 2,700 to 2,150 seats to create more comfortable viewing experiences
  • Improved accessibility through additional ADA-compliant entrances, flexible seating, handrails, and a softer auditorium slope
  • More than double the number of restrooms, concession areas and elevators
  • New and improved amenties, including a café and terrace, catering kitchen, retail areas, and patron lounge
  • Viewing space for late attendees, families with young children, and patrons with sensory sensitivities
  • Enhanced listening experience in orchestra-level seating through soundproofing measures
  • Updated and efficient systems for lighting, mechanical and electrical purposes

“This is a pretty major project, not just for us at the orchestra, but for the city as well,” said Eric Dundon, a representative with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The renovation and expansion efforts will be the first for Powell Hall since 1968, the year it officially became home to SLSO. The building is nearly 100 years old, first opening as the St. Louis Threatre in 1925.

Upgrades are expected to be completed by the site’s centennial anniversary.

“While our musical home is bustling with construction, we’ll embrace the opportunity to engage new audiences, showcase our extraordinary musicians, and share powerful musical experiences with you throughout our community,” said SLSO on the project.

To make room for expansion, crews tore down the neighboring 19th-century Culver House last year. Much of that area previously covered by the home will be used for expansion.

SLSO will continue to perform at Powell Hall through May 2023, then take the stage elsewhere around the St. Louis area while construction and renovations progress. The orchestra will primarily perform at Stifel Theatre and The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL during the renovations.