The USI Performance Center, which opened in Spring 2015, is home to USI Theatre productions. This new 350-seat Performance Center is a state-of-the-art theatre that prepares students for work in the entertainment industry. The Center features the latest stage technology, providing USI performing arts students with real-world experience in lighting and sound technology, as well as performance and staging.
Designed architecturally by Holzman Moss Bottino Architects, the facility includes a thrust stage with additional stage areas along the wall, high sloping seating, a shallow proscenium to allow for great sightlines, and exceptional light and sound technology.
Hafer served as the Project Engineer and one of the crucial challenges encountered was creating a very quiet mechanical and electrical system with minimal real estate. The solution involved creating a separate penthouse on structural columns which minimized costs with piping, conduit, and ductwork runs. The theatre can now perform without noise and vibration disturbance from the MEP systems allowing acoustic performance of the space to be the highest quality possible. The theatre is also served by an under-floor supply air system that provides a very high level of indoor air quality at the breathing zone while at the same time reduces the source equipment size. This system provides a very comfortable space for spectators and performers as well as lowers the operating costs for the University. The University is comforted knowing their systems are reliable and easy to maintain.
The theatre was designed with state-of-the-art light and sound technology. In order to provide the proper infrastructure required to meet the demands of high-tech equipment, Hafer designed:
• Clean power distribution systems to feed the audio and video distribution systems.
• Power distribution systems designed with flexibility and capacity to feed in-house and mobile theater equipment loads.
• Dimming systems for lobby area and flexible use spaces.
• Voice and data structured cabling systems for the state-of-the-art wired and wireless communications.
The Performance Center is an enhancement to the lives of students at USI as well as the community. It now serves as a top attraction for prospective students and has elevated the program offerings at USI.