Campus ReportingCampus Issue
A New Upcoming Design: An Amphitheater with Its CoverA big challenge: The renovation of the amphitheater on Yonsei campus
Kwon So-yeon  |  cowkite@hotmail.com
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승인 2007.11.25  00:21:31
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THERE IS a place on Yonsei campus, where people can gather and share their feelings. This place is the amphitheater. It was first constructed in 1988 and important festivals such as AKARAKA, and significant meetings such as the entrance ceremony, as well as graduation have taken place. There are about 7,000 to 8,000 seats and the three-dimensional structure of the theater improves the overall sound quality produced during concerts and events. It has not only contributed to the unique ambience created from the attractive model of the theater but has also created a special place for students to meet and share their spirits and feelings.
   In the early 1980s, the theater was surrounded by grass; however later in the early 1990s, the university decided to change it by constructing seats which are made from marble. By carving Yonseians fellow "names" into the stones, they celebrated the new upgraded version of the theater. However, since the amphitheater is open-air oval shape, the noise and sound escape out into space. This has brought many complaints from students and professors on the campus. In order to prevent such a case, the Office of General Affairs has planned a new design.

   
 

< Why renovate? What is the plan?>

   Even though the amphitheater has already been through a change (lawn into marble stones in the early 1990s) another problem was found. The soil has the characteristic of absorbing sound, and when sound was produced from the theater, it prevented this sound from spreading properly. However, since the lawn was renovated into marble steps, a new problem occurred. When the sound hits the stone, it doesn’t get absorbed but reflects after colliding with the stone. Therefore, the sound spreads out immediately and in every direction, which causes many complaints from people on the campus as well as people living near the campus. Even people staying in Severance hear the noise coming from the amphitheater when there is a festival. These reasons contributed to encouraging Choi Du-yeoung, the director of Office of General Affairs, to create and establish a plan to rebuild the theater. He has mentioned that “For this reason, the amphitheater is only used for four times a year and it is a waste of this good environment for use with a variety of performances and concerts.”
For almost ten years, director Choi has created a new plan supported by the Office of General Affairs. It involves renovating the amphitheater, by covering the hole with a transparent glass retractable dome, which can be folded when needed. The plan also contains construction beneath the theater in order to create basement parking which will either lessen or prevent traffic jams currently occurring inside the campus. Similar to this, Kyung Hee Univ. is planning to dig beneath the “Grand Stadium” next year and build a three-floored basement parking lot. They already have first-floor basement parking lot, but Byun Young-joo, the chief of public management implies that they still lack space. Constructing restaurants and cafes are also part of the plan.
It may also be comfortable for people when there are restaurants and cafes beneath the theater where they can rest before watching the show. Also by changing the seats, it allows people to enjoy more comfortably. In order to make progress, it is likely that more than 200 million won is needed to construct the covering. To obtain such a large sum of money, the Office of General Affairs is considering getting help from companies outside of our campus. The company provides support to upgrade the amphitheater and it gets sponsorship rights to bring its brand title into Yonsei campus. While the theater uses the company’s name, the company is able to use the theater for free. When the contract is over, the company would return the title to Yonsei Univ. The Office of General Affairs is planning to conduct surveys regarding the viability of this plan through their website: ycac.yonsei.ac.kr, in order to listen to the voices of Yonsei students on campus.

   
 

<What are the merits?>

   There are some good points that have been emphasized by director Choi throughout the interview. First of all, when the theater is upgraded, there will be no limitations or cancellations due to weather. Until now, the audience had difficulties watching the show during a snowy or rainy day, but by building a dome, people do not have to worry about such a situation. Moreover, when it is hot summer, the theater can be covered in order to cool the atmosphere by using air conditioning.
Secondly, the reconstruction of the amphitheater may contribute to advertise Yonsei Univ. The amphitheater could become an important symbol of Korea, and it might become well known to the world as well. When famous operas and plays are performed in the theater, it is likely that more people will become aware of Yonsei Univ. This is because, through amphitheater performances, more people are likely to visit the campus often. The “Grand Peace Palace” in Kyung Hee Univ. could be a perfect example of such a case. It is one of the largest theaters existing in Korea, which has earned a lot of public attention since it was built in 1990. One of the special things about the “Grand Peace Palace” is that no sound can be heard outside the building. This advantage encouraged the theater to host famous performances from all over the world, which also helped increase the recognition of Kyung-hee University.
Thirdly, through diverse types of performances staged in the amphitheater after reconstruction, Yonseians will have an increased opportunity to get in touch with their musical culture. For example, if there are concerts held every week, there is a possibility that Yonseians will be curious about upcoming performances. Choi implies that through these performances, students should get in touch with a broader understanding of cultural events performed in the amphitheater with possible ticketing discounts. Moreover, as there are many seats in the theater to be filled, only high-quality concerts and shows will be performed in the amphitheater. Therefore students will be able to watch only high-level and skilled performances held on the campus. Since the plays are performed on campus, they will also be able to save time.
Lastly, Yonsei Univ. is likely to earn a lot of money after reconstruction, and it can be used in useful ways such as scholarships. Singers or entertainers need to pay fees to the university in order to perform their shows. Rental costs are quite high (30 million won for two days). Director Choi implies that “if we assume that there will be at least one show every week, by the end of the year, this amount will be substantial.” With this money, Yonsei Univ. can use it by funding student needs or building more facilities.

<What are the possible problems?>

   However, in order to procede with this huge project, some problems are unavoidable. First of all, some question whether the heart of this plan, involving investing a lot of money, will produce corresponding profits. Some students worry that this project may not live up to peoples’ high expectations. In addition, it is also questionable whether performances will be held frequently since there is no quantitative proof. However, the Kyung Hee Univ. example provides us the possibility of a promising future. A substantial number of performances have been held since the building was constructed.
Second of all, some students are worried that by performing a lot of plays and shows, the campus will become dirty. When a famous singer has a concert in the amphitheater, it is likely that a lot of fans will buy tickets and come into the campus. It is easy to predict that, after the concert finishes, there would be a lot of waste and trash left on the campus not only inside the theater but also outside. As these problems have already happened at Kyung Hee Univ., they have employed five people who are in charge of the “Great Grand Palace’s” surrounding areas.
Third of all, the noise of the people coming out and going into the theater may disturb Yonseians from studying. Since the amphitheater is located in close proximity to all the departments of Yonsei Univ, if there is a huge amount of noise coming from the theater, it may have a big impact on other buildings. In order to get to the theater, people have to pass the YERC (Yonsei Engineering Research Center), Central Library, and Baikyang Hall which are the main buildings on the campus. Though this problem can be minimized when performances are conducted during weekends, there are still many Yonseians studying on campus during the weekend. Therefore, students who are preparing for *gosi [1]*, are worried that this might have a negative influence them in reaching their goals.

<Expectations for the future of amphitheater>

   Even though the amphitheater’s new plan has not been yet presented to the public, it is likely that the plan will be revealed in next few months. By looking at the example of the Kyung Hee Univ. Theater, people may be convinced regarding the advantages of the newly designed amphitheater on Yonsei’s campus. They may also be able to acknowledge that some possible problems can be subsequently solved. In the case of the amphitheater on Yonsei campus, transportation will be more well organized and the overall size of the theater is larger when compared to the one in Kyung Hee Univ. Therefore, this may encourage a more promising future for the new amphitheater on Yonsei campus, while providing audiences with the best service. While no one exactly knows how people would react towards the plan; however, people should have an objective attitude towards this new project.

**Yonseians challenge: What do you think about a new domed amphitheater?
[1] Gosi: A state examination one has to pass in order to be employed as a public or a judicial officer.

*There has been a change in the article: "200 million" to "20 billion" 
We apologize for the error made in this article.

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