College Planning & Management

MAR 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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I MPACT O N L EARNING SOLVING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS, ONE PIECE AT A TIME Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities project SNAPSHOT PROJECT: Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities INSTITUTION: University of WisconsinParkside LOCATION: Kenosha, Wis. COMPANY NAME: Wenger Corp. WEBSITE: editor's Acoustical considerations are of primary importance for music rooms, and effective storage solutions help protect expensive instruments and sheet music. For theatre departments, versatile equipment plays a starring role. The University of Wisconsin – Parkside took all this and more into consideration in a recent remodeling project. THE CHALLENGE The University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UWP) wanted to build on its reputation as an outstanding liberal arts institution with strong fine arts programs. The remodeling and expansion of the Communications Arts Building — including new facilities for music, theatre and art — was the opportunity to support and showcase this vision for the future. Versalite platforms: theater-in-the-round, three-quarter thrust, a proscenium-style setup and a corner configuration. Seating capacity ranges from 150 to 175, using Wenger's Portable Audience Chairs. "The beauty of the Versalite system is the ability to adapt the theatre's configuration and seating to match the show we're doing," explains Keith Harris, theatre facilities manager. THE SOLUTION New practice rooms were a key priority for the music department. "The old built-in practice rooms leaked sound badly," recalls Alvaro Garcia, associate professor of music and music department chair. "The architects agreed it was almost impossible to fabricate a small practice room with adequate sound isolation," he says. Wenger installed 15 practice rooms — four sized for ensembles and the rest for individual musicians. Garcia calls the rooms "fantastic" and adds they're very popular with students. Someday he hopes to add Wenger's virtual acoustics technology that features record/playback capability and realistic acoustical simulations. Other key music-department acquisitions include new storage solutions for instruments and sheet music. For the theatre department to maximize the utility of the new "black box" theater, flexible audience seating was vital. Based on the room specifications, Wenger designed the four different seating setups UWP requested, using IMPACT ON LEARNING Effective practice rooms with guaranteed sound isolation promote learning and minimize distractions. Ergonomic music chairs promote proper posture and comfort, even during long rehearsals. Flexible seating platforms in the black box theatre facilitate dramatic versatility and easy handling, enabling students, faculty and technical staff to better focus on creating art. IOL REVIEW Well-designed and furnished music education and performing arts spaces matter to the students who study in them and the faculty who teach there. Ergonomic furniture and spaces contribute to comfort as well as to effective teaching and learning. The University of Wisconsin – Parkside's upgrade to its rehearsal and performance spaces will benefit students, faculty and the public. MARCH 2013 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 41

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