TowerPinkster Architects, Architect; Grand Rapids, MI Greg D. Roehrick, Theater Consultant; Kalamazoo, MI
Thornapple-Kellogg High School is a large 1960s building in the small western Michigan town of Middleville. Architect TowerPinkster mapped out a $20 million, four-phase reconstruction of the school that kept the best parts of the building and replaced the rest to create a modern, well-organized, high-quality school building. The third phase created a new arts wing, including an 800-seat auditorium, band room, and chorus room.
The new auditorium accommodates wind ensemble, band and chorus performances, as well as more intimate dramas and musicals. It serves not only the high school but also nearby middle and elementary school performances. Like any high school auditorium, supports assemblies and lectures as well. The design team, including theater consultant Greg Roehrick, placed almost half the audience in an embracing, wrap-around balcony, accessed from within the auditorium by two communicating stairs. This allows the main floor to be an intimate, acoustically-supportive 400-seat room, ideal for dramas and small assemblies. The upper half of the auditorium is wider and deeper to develop reverberation for musical performances and to avoid excessive loudness when the band plays. A movable orchestra shell and movable acoustic curtains provide adjustable acoustic settings. A carefully designed audio system that includes an in-house mix position provides clear, natural, amplified sound for assemblies and popular music. A built-in video projector and flown projection screen supports both assemblies and performances, without distracting cooling fan noise. The new auditorium uses displacement ventilation to supply air quietly, efficiently, and without drafts.