The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 06, 2014

Trades set stage for revamped Binda Theatre at Kellogg CC

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

BATTLE CREEK – Established in 1956, Kellogg Community College has a mature campus and like any other upper education facility, a need to stay competitive with other schools.

That’s why KCC is in the midst of a long-term Capital Improvement Program, whose Phase II includes the addition or renovation of some 137,200 square feet of space spread over several buildings.

This year the construction focus has been on 22,000 square-feet of renovations and addition work to the Binda Theatre, a mainstay on Kellogg Community College’s campus since it was completed in 1961. The $5.5 million project is being managed by Walbridge-Schweitzer Joint Venture.

Walbridge Project Manager John Heikka said the work at the 320-seat Elizabeth Binda Performing Arts Theatre primarily includes updating the building’s heating and cooling and electrical systems, as well as expanding the theatre’s tiny front lobby space.

“Two of the big things that define the job are creating a larger public lobby space, with more windows and a nice view of the reflecting pool,” Heikka said. “We’re also improving the acoustics, upgrading the lighting, and bringing in improved air flow throughout the entire building. The lack of air flow had been a big thing. We’re putting up multiple rooftop units and new duct work, and we’re going to far exceed their expectations for air movement when we’re finished.”

About 25 Hardhats were employed on the project last month. They started on the project in early February and expect to be complete in September .

The theatre’s seats have all been removed during the renovation, to allow for the installation of extensive scaffolding on the interior of the building.

Tradespeople have used the scaffolding to get better access to all the new duct banks and pipe and wire openings in the upper reaches of the building.

“The floor slopes inside the theatre, so of course that made putting up the scaffolding quite a bit more difficult,” Heikka said. “But it’s in place and it’s working very well. It makes the workers’ lives a lot easier up there.” The trades are also doing work in the lower level of the theatre, including building two new dressing rooms.

“For the most part we’re putting to work local tradespeople from the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas, and they’re doing very, very well,” Heikka said. “They’re a very experienced group, and I think the fact that they’re familiar with each other is a major benefit.”

Hopefully that workforce will become even more familiar with each other over the next couple of years.

In November 2012, voters OK’d a 15-year extension of the millage which will generate about $40 million to further expand and renovate the college’s facilities during Phase II.

Last year, work wrapped up on significant improvements to the Student Center, which is adjacent to the Binda Theatre.

KCC in 2013 completed the first phase of campus improvements with the expiration of a 15-year millage approved by voters in 1998. The college has its main campus in Battle Creek, plus four satellite locations, serving about 14,000 full- and part-time students.

Walbridge-Schweitzer Joint Venture was hired by KCC as construction manager of the Phase II improvement program, which includes various additions and renovations at buildings on the college’s Albion and Battle Creek campuses.

According to Walbridge, the work also involves construction of a 4,700-square-foot addition and renovations to the 15,000-square-foot Eastern Academic Building, 36,000 square feet of renovations to the Davidson Visual and Performing Arts Academic Building, and 42,500 square feet of renovation work and a 32,000-square-foot addition to the Miller Physical Education Building. The Phase II construction projects are expected to be completed in August 2016.

THE BINDA THEATRE expansion and renovation project at Kellogg Community College includes a bigger lobby, shown here under construction in front of the (drained) reflecting pool on the campus. 

A NEW LIGHT IS INSTALLED inside the Binda Theatre auditorium by Derek Martin of IBEW Local 445. He’s employed by Motorshop Electric. Behind him, theatre seating was removed and extensive scaffolding gave the trades access to the upper reaches 

PAUSING FOR A PHOTO underneath their duct-work handiwork at the Binda Theatre renovation in Battle Creek are (l-r) Dell Boers, Doug Dailey and Nick Bradley of Sheet Metal Workers Local 7. They’re employed by Mall City.