Ward said he thinks having the new theater will be "a step forward, a step into the future, a step into closer contact with the arts initiative. And the new arts district of campus that's being developed and the new center for the arts is coming. It's fabulous. There'll be some nostalgia, sure, there were -- and there are -- good memories from here."
Ward is focused on both the past and future of the department.
"Maybe I should be Chinese because I have no problem with keeping a foot in the past, but I'm always interested in moving forward. I have no problem moving forward," Ward said.
A reunion is in the works in hopes of reuniting the alumni to help celebrate the move into the new space and to honor the Performing Arts Building.
Assistant technical director, information technology lead David Wedin is responsible for coordinating some of the logistics of the move and purchasing new technology for the Black Box Theatre.
"I have a huge to-do list," Wedin said.
He said the most challenging part about moving is the complexity of scheduling everything. Everything has to be physically moved out of PAB; phones and Ethernet have to be switched. The department will also have to figure out how to use the new space fairly quickly, and Wedin said they will most likely not start major production until later in the fall semester. While the move-in date changes daily, the department may be able to move in as early as mid-July.
"There will be problems, obviously, but we're also excited to get in and do work in this nice, new space. I'm looking forward to seeing my new office."
New facilities the department will get include a sound-proof audio recording room, a room designated to teach lighting techniques, a computer lab with theater-specific software installed and a set-model making room. The new theater is twice the size of the old black box and will be more readily equipped.
"They're going to get to work with some new state-of-the-art equipment and as usual we're trying to keep them up to date so they have what they need when they leave. In general, although not as quaint as the Performing Arts Building, I think it will be a nice environment to study and work in," Wedin said.
When Bob McGrath, theatre arts professor of two years, first stepped into his office on the second floor of the PAB, he was reminded of the University of California at Berkley Bears because of his office's light yellow walls and dark blue trim.
McGrath said he loves that PAB is old but is eager to see how moving into Henderson and having the Black Box Theatre will transform the theatre department.
"I think that this is a very exciting, growing time for the theatre department and now the theater and cinema department that it's becoming. And I think with the new space and with the potential of the even larger space opening, I think it's a very fertile time for the theater department and I think it's going to change and grow in a lot of exciting ways," McGrath said.
The PAB is more than 100 years old and rumors of spirits residing in the building have popped up over the years.
"I'm here at night, and there's always talk about the ghosts of the Performing Arts Building," Raun said. "I think there are echoes of a lot of great learning and creativity that has happened in this building. And my greatest hope is that that's in us -- it's not in the building and that will be taking that with us."