Magazine On-line [summer 2013]
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Coleman Hall

Coleman Hall

Coleman remodeled into multipurpose space

Coleman Recital Hall has been transformed from a space with fixed seating used primarily for musical events to a multipurpose room adaptable for theater, music, and art program activities.

The physical plant department removed the seating and installed a raised dance/movement floor that levels out the formerly raked seating configuration, leaving a relatively flat 34 by 50 foot area. As a result, theater classes can set up props and scenery on a temporary basis for classes and rehearsals, and the music and art programs can arrange similar learning situations for their students.

“The theater program needed a classroom for movement and acting, and the Little Theater isn’t a good space when a production is going on because of set construction and seating platforms,” theater professor Michael Dixon said. “This new, open space provides the exact kind of setting the program needs. It becomes a studio for many kinds of theater classes. Its flexibility is the key.”

Dixon noted how the space can reflect the different configurations theaters are set up in, and that most classes can now be arranged so all students are in the front row. “That changes the dynamic of a class hugely,” he said.

The music department has already used the space for band rehearsal, and a senior recital by a student from a music technology class was staged in the room, complete with video and a series of speakers arranged around the audience. A projection screen lets the space be turned into a theater.
Music professor Tim Polashek said the room could also be used for joint art and music events, as has happened in Morlan Gallery. “There’s a lot of cross pollination about what a gallery is now,” he said.

Installation of the new floor was a custom job handled entirely by Transylvania’s staff. In addition to the floor, a wheelchair accessible ramp was built, two sets of doors moved, and new exit and entrance lights installed.

“The men doing this work are very skilled,” said Darrell Banks, physical plant director. “The new space looks like it was original to the building. A. J. Prewitt and Tony Paynter did the carpentry, Danny Knox the electrical work, and Dave Purcell the painting.”

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