The historic Schaeffer Auditorium has been transformed into a state-of-the-art performance venue–the first significant upgrade since it was built in 1940.
The 826-seat auditorium received new seating, carpet, lighting and an enclosed sound and lighting room, and the addition of 6,000 sf of back stage, crossover and wing space. A loading dock, which the building never had, and elevators that lift equipment to backstage level are some of the most coveted features. The building also received a new entryway that buffers light and sound with a second set of doors and an existing “black box” theater, used mostly for children’s theater, was renovated with improved lighting and sound.
An addition, which complements the historic integrity of the original building, is slightly separated from the old structure, with a greenway that lets light through the original building’s windows. The facility features “smart classrooms” with options for future upgrades; large state-of-the-art music rehearsal room with production and recording capabilities with a double floor to dampen sound; smaller rehearsal rooms for ensembles, nine student soundproof rehearsal booths of varying sizes, green room and catering area, dressing rooms with showers, music library, and climate controlled storage space. The facility also features an outdoor “piazza” for student group activities, entertainment and events.
The design incorporates materials with high recycled content and low VOCs, low e-glazing, high efficiency HVAC systems, occupancy sensors for lighting, daylighting and spaces designed to high NC standards. During construction, demolished materials/waste was recycled.