The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, May 02, 2003

Trades take center stage at performing arts center

By The Building Tradesman

SAULT STE. MARIE - Northern Michigan's thespians, vocalists, hoofers and behind-the-scenes personnel next year will have a first-class facility in which to put their best foot forward, when Lake Superior State University's Fine and Performing Arts Center is scheduled to open its doors.

Currently the spotlight is on the building trades and Devere Construction, who began building the 725-seat, $15.3 million auditorium last fall.

LSSU says when the facility on the northwest corner of the campus opens in the fall of 2004 it will be "one of the best places in the region to see a performance or learn about how to produce one."

Lake Superior State pretty much knows what it's getting - the arts center is nearly an exact replica of a performing arts center built for Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan. The university's architect, TPI, suggested utilizing the Country Day design in order to save money and time by virtually eliminating construction change orders.

"This facility will fit in very nicely with Lake State's other campus buildings," said Rick Waligora, director of the LSSU Physical Plant. "In addition, the design is much more operations- and maintenance-friendly than previous designs. It will be easier to clean and take care of. It's a very user-friendly design."

He added, "The acoustics of the auditorium are wonderful. You can stand in the uppermost corner and listen to a normal conversation on stage with no amplification. Every seat in the house is excellent."

The new building also features classrooms, art studios, green rooms, set construction areas, rehearsal halls, faculty office space and an art gallery.

"The complex will provide a tremendous asset not only to fine arts students and patrons of the arts, but it will be a welcome addition to the cultural and social atmosphere of the Eastern Upper Peninsula and Northern Ontario, as well," said Bruce Harger, LSSU's acting vice president for academic affairs and provost.

PREPPING A PIPE for a weld at the Lake Superior State University's Fine and Performing Arts Center is Ben Eichhorn of Plumbers & Pipefitters 506 and Dressler Mechanical.
Photo by John Shibley/LSSU