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Huntsville’s Von Braun Center Concert Hall To Get Spring Makeover

By: Huntsville Real Estate Expert Mike Manosky On December 21, 2008

Huntsville’s Von Braun Center Concert Hall To Get Spring Makeover

The Von Braun Center Concert Hall will undergo a major renovation this spring according to architect Paul Matheny. The $4.75 million dollar project will begin in late February and is expected to last a year.

Funds for the VBC hall renovation come from a $3 million dollar gift donated by the family of the late Mark Smith, founder of Huntsville telecommunications company Adtran Inc.

The concert hall’s 2,100 seats will be replaced with modern ones and a center aisle will be created. Work will also include luxury suites in the balcony, new restrooms, elevator access to all levels for patrons with disabilities, additional reception space, new lighting and sound equipment, and a window-dominated facade.

Linda Smith made the donation on behalf of her late husband. Mark Smith came from a musical family and often touted the VBC and the city’s arts and music community when recruiting professionals for his business.

Smith founded Universal Data Systems. After selling that company to Motorola, he founded Adtran, which anchors Cummings Research Park.

The hall will be renamed the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall.

The concert hall isn’t the only part of the VBC that will get a major facelift. Shortly after the Smith donation this fall, Huntsville businessman William Propst announced a $5 million donation for a major renovation of the VBC arena.

Combined with $10 million in city money, the donation will help add 1,000 seats, create a larger lobby with a glass front overlooking Big Spring International Park, add VIP suites with private boxes, add restrooms and improve the concourse.

That project could also get under way by spring, with construction spanning 14 to 18 months. The arena will be named the Propst Arena.

Propst arrived in Huntsville in 1946 and built a fortune in steel, drugstores, manufacturing and real estate.

The multimillion-dollar donations for both projects were solicited by then-Mayor Loretta Spencer.

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