Adaptive Reuse

Chapman University to Convert Historic Building into Dance Center

Chapman University, located in Orange, Calif., recently announced the construction of a new facility for the Sandi Simon Center for Dance. The project entails the renovation of an historic Villa Park Orchards Building on the campus’ west side, with university officials citing the desire to preserve the building’s spaciousness, curved corners, and natural light. The university is partnering with R.D. Olson Construction and architecture firm LOHA, and the project is currently slated for a June 2022 completion date.

According to a news release, the project’s first phase involves a structural retrofit of the 70,000-square-foot, two-story building. About 39,000 of that square footage will be allocated to the university’s dance department, which has received national accreditation. The second phase involves the build-out of the studio itself.

“The specialized nature of this project – being both a dance facility and historic retrofit – led Chapman University to opt for a design-build-assist delivery method,” said Bill Wilhelm, R.D. Olson Construction president. “With this approach, R.D. Olson Construction has been highly involved in the design, working in partnership with architecture firm LOHA to make the building structurally sound and incorporate the unique aspects of the historic space into the new dance center.”

Building features and amenities will include six dance studios, one of which can be converted into a performance space; bleachers with a capacity for 100; and movable glass walls that can allow the performance studio to be open or shut off to the building’s lobby. One studio will also be a dedicated tap-dancing space. All six studios will feature wood-sprung Harlequin dance floors. The building will also be integrated with technology to allow for live musical accompaniment, live video conferencing and video shooting.

According to the news release, “The space also will include a first aid and physical therapy room, classrooms, multipurpose rooms for student collaboration, a kitchen space, bathrooms, offices for administration, an elevator, a tap-flex studio for students to utilize as needed for practice or warm-ups, and a mezzanine that will function as a flex meeting room, classroom, informal meeting space or a place for students to lounge while waiting for class.”

The university also partnered with structural engineer Structural Focus; mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer Buro Happold; civil engineer KPFF; theater and lighting consultants Auerbach + Associates; and acoustic consultant Veneklasen Associates.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].