Kalamazoo Central High School, Auditorium

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo Public Schools is an urban school district that has been renewing its infrastructure. Voters approved $55 million in 2001 for various improvements to the district’s 30 facilities; however, the auditorium addition to 33-year-old Kalamazoo Central High School is the clear showpiece. This $5 million performing-arts venue truly enhances the education experience ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY800COST PER SQ FT$166.00FEATURED IN2006 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized students and educators alike.

The 30,000-square-foot facility has 500 seats on the main floor and 300 in the balcony. It is attached to the main high school building by a pedestrian bridge and boasts a 9-foot mechanical orchestra pit-lift. Other features of the new performance center include a full-fly house with computerized sound and lighting systems from the main-floor control booth. A large set-construction workshop, dressing rooms and storage complete the support areas of this facility.

Materials were chosen carefully throughout this facility for their durability and sustainability, a focus of the school district. Masonry was a logical choice because of its acoustical attenuation, elegant aesthetics and simplified construction process allowing a single trade responsibility for most of the exterior envelope and interior walls.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Kalamazoo Central High School’s students will not have to be bused six miles to Chenery Auditorium in downtown Kalamazoo for rehearsals and performances; instead, their new performance space is integrated into the high school campus.