Chautauqua Institution's amphitheater project almost complete

After nearly six years of planning and two years of construction, the Chautauqua Institution's new amphitheater is set to open this June.
Officials tell us the change will allow the institution to accommodate more visitors, workers and performers.
Residents call the amphitheater the heart of the Chautauqua. 
The institution's president Michael Hill tells us this the third iteration of the facility.
While some guests tried to fight the upgrade, officials tell us the changes will better the institution. 
The 41.5 million-dollar project includes a newer sound system, hand rails and seating for 45-hundred people.
The operations director says the project is also environment friendly, with rain gardens that help clean the water before it goes into the lake. 
"We've taken a lot of effort to make the place better for everyone who comes to visit, everyone who comes to work here and for the environment," said John Shedd, the director of operations.
Hill said, "The amphitheater is the moral heart of the institution. It is the place where our community gathers. It's our church. It's our largest classroom. It's a place where performers like Aretha Franklin, who will open our season, come. So, it really is the symbolic gathering spot."
The first event held in the new amphitheater will be Jamestown High School's graduation.
Hill says that's in an effort to let the neighboring communities feel more welcome at the institution. 


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