College theater one step closer to reality
The mandatory pre-bid conference for the new Visual and Performing Arts Center theater facility was conducted June 1.
The conference included a walkthrough of the current facilities, led by Facilities Management Director J.B. Messer and project architect Walt Joyce, of Triad Design Company.
“We have a mandatory pre-bid because general contractors will have bids from a lot of different sub-contractors, and the prime subcontractors are the mechanical and electrical,” Messer said
“It basically puts everyone at an even playing field for the project.”
Messer and Joyce led the contractors through the facility, answering questions, explaining the details of the requirements and providing visual references for the information provided to contractors in the plans and whiteprints.
Joyce said he’s excited about the project, especially for the opportunity it has provided him to work with Schuler Shook Theater Design, a Texas company that helped with the technical design of the new facility.
“It’s just really well thought out in terms of quality,” Joyce said.
“It’s not the Cadillac equipment, but it’s not low end either. It’s in the appropriate range for this institution.
“For example, it’s got curtains in the attic space that are adjustable to fine-tune the [acoustics of the] performance space for whatever is called for.
“For instance, you want different acoustics for a rock band than for a choir or a play.”
Messer said in addition to quality technology in the theater systems, there are technical innovation in the heating and cooling system he’s particularly proud of.
“The way it’s set up, we didn’t have to do as much work to the central plant in terms of heating and cooling modes.
“It utilizes the central plant, but places more of the equipment on site,” Messer said.
Joyce agrees the system is innovative, and said he’s pleased with it.
“It’s a big deal.
“The college has been instrumental in terms of energy consciousness and awareness.
“And it’s based on that cutting-edge thinking that they took and eliminated the requirement for adding another central load to their plant for this facility.”
Joyce attributes the smoothness and success of the project to date to the sense of continuity.
“We put a team together, and it’s been the same team, for all practical purposes, since the inception (of the VPAC),” he said.
“And even to the point where we’re doing our working drawing on Wednesdays, we would have the dean and other appropriate people come into these design meetings.
“It’s that continuity that I’m most proud of on these projects, and it’s that team feeling here at the college that has worked really well.”
Messer agrees, but also points out the vision of the designers at Triad is another major component.
“What we were able to do was build the VPAC, knowing how much funding we had at the time,” he said.
“And to envision in the process of building the VPAC what the theater would look like sitting in there, without actually putting it there.
“So then coming back together, and moving forward to put this project together, and seeing the way that the VPAC fits perfectly with this project — that takes a tremendous amount of vision.”
Messer said bidding for the contract to build the new facility opens at 2 p.m. on June 16.