The Ryman Auditorium will be undergoing construction at the end of the summer to grow the back spaces of the concert hall, which will not affect the historic auditorium and famous red brick facade.
Colin Reed, who heads up Ryman Properties, says visitors feel cramped in the areas outside of the music hall. So the add-ons include a new box office, more bathrooms and a reworked concessions area, and other renovations totaling $14 million.
Demand is outstripping the Ryman’s capacity, Reed said, noting: “Any of you who come to concerts here and have to stand in line I think have a clear sense of what I mean by that.”
Reed made the announcement on the Ryman stage flanked by Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart to his right and Governor Bill Haslam to his left. Asked how much of the expansion will rely of tax dollars, Reed replied: “None. Not a goose egg,” to which one person clapped: Haslam.
The Ryman’s concert hall was renovated in 1994. And in 1971, the space was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, shortly before the Grand Ole Opry moved out. The new construction won’t touch any of the historic parts of the building. ”
Twenty years have passed since that overhaul,” Reed said. “And Nashville has evolved as a city quite unlike anyone could have predicted back then.”
The Ryman’s show calendar will not be affected by the construction, and the renovations are expected to be wrapped up by next June.