The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially re-open the Duane W. Smith Auditorium at 6 p.m., Thursday at 1300 Diamond Dr. Courtesy/LAPS
The newly improved Duane W. Smith Auditorium. Courtesy/LAPS
The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially re-open the Duane W. Smith Auditorium at 6 p.m., Thursday at 1300 Diamond Dr.
Light refreshments will follow the brief ceremony.
The Duane Smith Auditorium, originally called the Civic Auditorium, was built in 1950. It stood as the main facility in which local organizations could host plays and performances due to its spacious stage and seating area. Even today, it services not only Los Alamos schools, but the entire community, from Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Los Alamos Concert Association.
Since then, upkeep and renovations have been ongoing. Approximately eight years ago, LAPS replaced the main curtain and the rigging in Duane Smith and repainted the main hall; four years ago, LAPS also replaced all the seating. In 2016, the district completely remodeled the music wing, adding several practice rooms, reorganizing the storage areas and updating the restrooms. At that time, LAPS also replaced the roof over the stage and re-stuccoed the flyloft on the auditorium.
During this latest set of improvements, LAPS has completely rebuilt the lobby and added a pre-concert area between the auditorium and music building. The restroom renovations include 11 fixtures in the new women’s restroom and eight in the men’s. The entire building’s fire system also was updated, including fire sprinklers above and below the ceiling in the main hall. The lobby is now almost twice its original size, with dedicated areas for concessions and ticketing.
The former Civic Auditorium was renamed in 1994 to Duane Smith Auditorium after well-loved LAPS Superintendent Duane Smith. Smith, or “Smitty” as everyone referred to him, had a deep and lasting impact on LAPS, especially with special education. According to daughter Kelly Myers, “He put New Mexico on the map with special education.” Smith made himself available to everyone and attended countless school activities.
Thank you to the Los Alamos County Council, the New Mexico legislature, and the community for their support in maintaining this shared community facility.