After more than a year of renovations, Page Auditorium has re-opened to play host to speakers, performers and for now, Duke Chapel’s services.

The construction updated West Campus’ original auditorium and preserved its historical integrity with reworked views, better acoustics and enhanced access for people with disabilities. Students, however, have had mixed reactions to the space.

Senior Jose Sandoval, who saw the completed auditorium because of his role in True Blue during orientation week, said he thought the finished product looked “rather dull and disappointing.”

“I expected it to look more extravagant like Baldwin [Auditorium],” he wrote in an email.

Other upperclassmen had their first glimpse of the renovated auditorium during the a cappella showcase Sunday.

“It’s more or less the same. It’s a needed facelift more than anything,” senior Ethan Dunn said.

Dunn joined a fellow member of the Pitchforks a cappella group, senior Kyle Alderdice, in expressing concern that the backstage area had not been made more functional, especially for large groups. Alderdice, however, praised the new sound system and feel of the space.

“I kind of got a dusty vibe from the old Page, and this is newer,” Alderdice said. “From a design perspective, the overall look is more cohesive.”

In total, the work on the auditorium cost $8 million—$3 million more than originally planned, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask confirmed in an email. Work on Page, Baldwin and the West Union Building was funded by $80 million set aside by the Charlotte-based Duke Endowment. However, because of the increased expense of the West Union construction—which is estimated to total $95 million when the ground floor opens in Spring 2016 and the building becomes fully operational next Fall—additional funding for the work on Page had to be secured from other philanthropists and University funds.

Trask wrote that many problems were uncovered during the renovation of the 1920s structure, including issues with the roof and that sections of the floor had partially collapsed.

Duke Performances Director Aaron Greenwald noted that he thought that the modifications will have a positive impact on future events.

“The space will be altogether more enjoyable for an audience,” he wrote in an email.

Greenwald explained that updates to the space include new seats, re-raked seating in the orchestra, more effectively staggered rows and acoustical treatments to allow for more amplified sound and a more enjoyable listening experience.

Additional work included adding fresh carpet, repainting the walls and ceiling, as well as fitting the building with a new sprinkler system.

The completed renovations also reduced the seat count from 1,234 to 1,150, Greenwald wrote, emphasizing that the effects of the loss will be minimal since the seats that were removed were some of the worst in the auditorium.

Now that the renovations are finished, Page—which is Duke’s largest venue for performances—will continue to host many of Duke Performances’ most popular shows throughout the year. During the renovations, several shows took place at off-campus venues.

“[The renovation] was a challenge, but it provided us the opportunity to collaborate on a half-dozen shows which we co-presented with the Carolina Theatre of Durham at their venue downtown,” Greenwald wrote.

He noted that shows at the Carolina Theatre each attracted approximately 200 students and many residents of the surrounding area.

Also glad to see Page reopen was the The Congregation at Duke Chapel, which saw its services moved there Aug. 9 after taking place in Baldwin on East Campus during the summer. Luke Powery, dean of Duke Chapel, explained that Page is preferable for the Congregation and that the move has been handled well.

“Parking is familiar and the same when we are in the Chapel,” he wrote in an email. “The congregation has seen this as an opportunity to come closer together as a people with the recognition that Duke Chapel is more than a building but is a living, breathing community of Christ’s love and hope.”

Students will soon have more opportunities to visit Page. In September, Duke Performances will host two Grammy-award winners—Jazz-singer Gregory Porter will perform Sept. 24 and North Carolina native folk-singer Rhiannon Giddens will perform the following day.