Battelle is phasing out public and community use of an auditorium that’s long served as a venue for classical concerts, film screenings and the like.
Battelle Auditorium, which seats nearly 300 people, is on Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s campus in Richland.
Battelle operates the lab for the Department of Energy.
The contractor has seen growing public requests for the space. “We cannot accommodate all the requests and we don’t want to be in a position where we tell some community groups they can use it, but others they cannot,” Greg Koller, Battelle spokesman, said in a statement.
Also, Battelle’s own increased need for the facility is a factor. That includes “the potential conversion of the auditorium to a facility capable of hosting classified events. Nothing has been decided, but such a conversion would preclude the ability of visitors or staff who don’t have security clearances from using the facility,” Koller said.
Battelle officials have notified community groups that regularly use the space, such as Tri-City Film Club and the chamber music group Camerata Musica.
Officials are working to grandfather in already-scheduled events while not scheduling new ones, Koller said.
“While we will no longer be able to host community events at the auditorium, Battelle will continue to be a strong supporter of the community and Mid-Columbia organizations by investing in the Tri-Cities’ education, health and human services, and arts organizations,” he said.