When the Spencer Community School District began the project, they were looking to simply add on a theatre to their existing High ¬School. The project began with two existing buildings, the High School and the Tech Education building, that were separated by an alleyway and main parking lot located at the “back” of the building. The District desired not only a new theatre, but a possible connection of these two buildings.

By connecting all of the buildings on one campus and moving the main entrance near the parking lot, the security of the building was heightened so all students and visitors passed through the administration. The new entry makes a statement with its wall of windows, backlit logo and school graphics.

Although the initial project scope focused on a 750-seat theatre, it evolved to not only include the administration and main entry relocation but also a black box theatre, large scenery workshop, make-up and dressings room and a student commons space that connected the existing buildings with the new theatre.

The Commons space provides the opportunity for students to have individualized choices for studying, collaborating and socializing with various seating options and levels of privacy. The former alleyway also connects the renovated music department to the theatre for efficient transition to the stage.

Throughout the addition, large volumes of space were created to allow light to envelop the Commons through clearstory windows. School colors and graphics infuse the space, giving the students a sense of ownership and pride. Soft seating located throughout the space not only serves the students during the day, but can accommodate visitors to the building for Fine Arts performances and other hosted events.