Paradise Valley High School Auditorium Renovation
The Auditorium at Paradise Valley High School dates from 1982. Typical of rooms from that period, seating was a large, undifferentiated bowl of continental seats sloping to the front of the room. The chamber’s ceiling and sides were molded in plaster. Provisions for teaching stage craft were dated and insufficient for a room used for teaching and that received extensive community use.
When CSHQA was hired, the chamber had been closed for 2 years because of structural concerns about the plaster ceiling. While this was the impetus behind the project, other issues were apparent and need to be addressed:
- The stem wall concrete was spalling and reinforcement was exposed and rusting. Shoring, demolition and replacement seemed necessary.
- The room was built prior to the ADA enactment, and access in the room and to the stage did not meet current accessibly standards.
- The lobby had originally been built without any fenestration and was a dark, foreboding space during the day when most use occurred.
- The technical lighting positions were limited to a single, “mid-cat” position and the lighting and dimmers had not been upgraded in the intervening three decades. The rigging was in dis-repair.
- Room acoustics were problematic, the orchestra shell was in dis-repair and student performers had difficulty hearing each other in band configurations on stage.
- Audio and visual controls and equipment were dated and replacement with modern equipment necessary for teaching.
- The mechanical systems needed repair and air handlers housed above the room needed to be replaced.
CSHQA and consultants gutted the room and increased the acoustic volume. The seating chamber sidewalls were configured to diffuse sound and improve acoustics. A new catwalk system includes three technical lighting positions in the room. The seating bowl was reconfigured employing graceful ramps to provide ADA access within the chamber and to the stage. The stage rigging was replaced, the orchestra shell was renovated, and the stage outfitted with sound diffusing wall treatments to improve the acoustics for the performers. The structural engineer proposed a carbon fiber system to repair the deteriorated stem walls, saving over two hundred thousand dollars and months of time.
The building’s electrical service capacity was two thirds of what would be considered adequate today. It is noteworthy that, through very careful calculations and design, the stage lighting designer was able to upgrade the lighting, install new dimming and robotic lighting controls and still avoid a new service that would have cost a half million dollars.
Working with a committed CMAR, this major undertaking was done while the rest of the high school remained in operation, in a very compressed time that necessitated periods of round the clock construction.