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New Hancher 20 Percent Done

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- Construction is about 20 percent complete on the new Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, and crews are working around the clock to complete the building.

"For a long time, during the course of the winter, we ended up having to work 24 hours a day," said project manager Joe Troness.

The flood of 2008 destroyed the previous iteration of the performing arts hall, and the University of Iowa and Mortenson Construction hosted a tour of the new facility on Wednesday. As crews smooth out concrete and fly in periphery-filling pieces of rebar, they are still on schedule to finish the building by 2016.

Hancher executive director Chuck Swanson was a student at the University of Iowa when the auditorium first opened 42 years ago.

"I've been so patient, like everybody else for so long, and then you start seeing this progress, and then you just can't wait. The anticipation just builds," Swanson said.

At 1,800 seats, the new Hancher will have fewer seats than the previous theater, but Swanson said he's excited to present a more intimate experience for show-goers.

"Once we came up with that number," Swanson said, "the architect said we hit a sweet spot. He said we hit a sweet spot architecturally, aesthetically, and acoustically."

Swanson is preparing to unveil the schedule for Hancher's seventh season without a building. Those performances are held in venues across Iowa City. Swanson can't wait to bring them home.

"Believe me, when this second Hancher opens, the excitement, it'll be like the best thing in the world," he said.

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