The School of the Arts at CSU has a new performance center. The
Edna Rizley Griffen Concert Hall, The Riz, was officially unveiled
Tuesday during a ceremony held at the buildings cornerstone.
Michael Thaunt, the co-chair of the Department of Music, Theatre
and Dance, opened the event by first thanking the many donors whose
contributions made the construction of the $7.3 million,
27,000-square-foot facility possible.
“It’s a world-class facility,” Thaunt said. “I think building an
educational building with that sense of excellence and quality is
something that really moves me. That’s what we are thanking the
Thaunt also expressed his hope that The Riz, which will begin
hosting performances in the fall, will reach out to the community
as a whole.
“This is extremely exciting and I hope you reach out to this
place with ownership and pride,” Thaunt said.
Classically inspired columns welcome visitors to The Riz, a
design meant to mirror the fa�ade of the original high
school built in 1924. The building’s rich history connects the
university to the community in a new way. CSU President Larry
Penley spoke at the ceremony about the facility’s community
“It stands here on the edge of the university, part within the
university, part without,” Penley said. “In celebration of what
this university does, to lift the spirits of this community and to
build the quality of life of the community in which a great
Behind the granite cornerstone is a time capsule preserving
donor testimonials, a copy of the Associated Students of CSU bill
supporting the performing arts and a copy of “Home of the
Champions,” a history of Fort Collins High School written by Donald
Many Fort Collins residents and Fort Collins High School
graduates, including Pikes wife Marian Pike, attended the
“I think it’s beautiful. It’s a wonderful addition,” said Marian
Pike who was at first worried that it might detract from the old
school building. “The outside blends with the school beautifully.
My husband would be thrilled to know it would always be used for
Marian Pike graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1947 and
went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in 1951 and a master’s
degree in 1956.
“Back then there wasn’t quite 5,000 students,” she said.
The opening of The Riz is phase one of the planned Center for
the Arts Complex that will one day call the old high school home.
According to Thaunt construction on phase two, the conversion of
the old gymnasium into a theater complex that will replace the
Johnson Hall main stage, will break ground later this summer.
For now the lobby and accompanying 550-seat auditorium that
makes up The Riz will add a new dimension to the performing arts at
“We’re welcoming the community of Fort Collins,” President
Penley said. “And the community within the university to the
celebration of a wonderful addition to CSU.”