The main theater at Wells Fargo Center is being remodeled.

The main auditorium at Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is just a shell of its former self at the moment, but it’ll look a lot better by mid-August.

The center’s 1,600-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater closed in May for a $2.8 million renovation, and will reopen Aug. 16, when singer Patti LaBelle opens the center’s 2013-2014 season

The hall was built in 1974 as part of the Christian Life Center and taken over by the arts center in 1981.

So far this summer, crews have finally removed the Christian Life Center’s original baptismal pool, and created a door that leads directly from the outside of the building to the backstage area.

“That means the acts won’t have to trundle their sound equipment through the lobby anymore,” said Mark Hagenlocher, Director of Operations at Wells Fargo Center.

Workers — a total of about 125 of them all together — also have expanded the backstage space, and removed two piano storage rooms so audiences can see the stage better from the sides of the hall.

That’s just the beginning. All-new, removable seats will be installed on the main floor and the balcony seats will be refurbished. Some parts of the stage will be raised 10 feet higher.

“The room will work better for the type of programming we do, which is comedy, dance, theater and music of various types,” said Hagenlocher.

For details on the new season:, 707-546-3600.

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