November 22, 2013
J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center is Featured in Architectural Portfolio Honoring Education Design Excellence
WHEELING, WV – The J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center at Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling, West Virginia has been selected for publication in Penton Media’s American School & University® 2013 Architectural Portfolio. The project is featured in the November 2013 edition of the magazine and also on the Web at www.SchoolDesigns.com. An annual competition honoring education design excellence, the Architectural Portfolio spotlights projects representing today’s most effective learning environments.
Click here to view the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center’s page in the 2013 Architectural Portfolio Issue (Digital Edition)
The Ohio County Schools engaged the professional services of McKinley & Associates to complete this new 34,000 square foot J. B. Chambers Performing Arts Center as an addition to the front of Wheeling Park High School.
Following a series of project scoping sessions with faculty and administration, the theater was designed as a Gallery configuration with 2 Gallery levels. The Galleries are shallow, and wrap around in a crescent form, thus providing the audience with optimal proximity to the stage. This allows even the back row of ground floor seating to be within 100 feet of center stage, and enhances the acoustical performance of even the unplugged presentation of student voices.
Ground floor seating for 800 persons is formed by curved elevated tiers with open railings; the 2 upper galleries each seat 200, but are only 4 rows deep. Ground floor side-aisles provide direct level access to stage.
In response to Wheeling Park’s unusual concentration on performing arts and theater technology, the project showcases various components not typically found in public school facilities. A lighting catwalk extends around the entire house perimeter to provide crew access during performance. An open-view lighting and audio booth is located at the back of the house. Touch screen computers operate 350 lighting and rigging circuits, and audio controls. In the center of audience seating, a mid-house mix workstation allows direct audio control operations during performance. All of these systems are utilized as hands-on training for the Theater Arts students.
Backstage, the 4,000 SF engineered stage floor system is supported by a full array of professional equipment, including a demountable orchestra shell and a suspended walk-able tension grid. A structural steel grid-iron loft above the stage provides crew access to the motorized rigging equipment and smoke control vents.
A 1500 SF Scene Shop is located behind the building. This high-bay studio provides open volume workshop space for set construction and doubles as an equipment staging space for the adjacent loading dock.
The Theater is linked to the existing school via a compact but dynamic 2-Story Lobby space. A monumental stair is the central feature connecting the open balcony of the upper Lobby to the curtainwall-glazed angular geometry of the ground floor. The oversized mid-point landing on this stair looks out onto the entry plaza on one side, and into the dramatic cascading hillside of the park on the other.
The J. B. Chambers Performing Arts Center opened in April of 2012.
A jury of American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education members and education administrators evaluated submissions from architectural firms, schools and universities across the country. One hundred forty-five projects were chosen for publication in AS&U, a monthly educational facilities, purchasing and business administration magazine reaching 57,000 facility planners, school and university administrators and architects with this issue. This is the 31st year the competition has been held.
When determining citation winners and other outstanding designs, this year’s jury considered the following criteria. Spaces should be designed for collaboration. Facilities should by flexible and adaptable and should change with the times. Spaces should not have fixed labels, but should be designed for multiple uses and with movable walls. They should be open and welcoming, but designed with safety and security in mind. The technology should facilitate learning and respond to the changing landscape. There should be school identity. Students and the community should relate to the space and draw a connection, be proud of the space and have an investment in it. Indoor/outdoor connections are important. Students and staff should have the ability to see outside, form connections and relationships, and the technology should be accessible and seamless.
More information about the Architectural Portfolio, including a complete list of 2013 projects selected for publication, is available on American School & University’s www.SchoolDesigns.com Web site, or by contacting Molly Roudebush, senior marketing manager, at 1-(913) 967-1959 or mroudebush@ASUmag.com.
Founded in 1928, American School & University is devoted exclusively to education facilities/business administration. The authority for information about the educational facilities market, AS&U delivers an insightful combination of exclusive reports, special focuses and how-to articles each month. For more information, please visit www.ASUmag.com and www.SchoolDesigns.com. American School & University is published by Penton.