April 29, 2014
Performing arts has been a cherished activity of Kevin Clark's since his junior high school and high school years at Lincoln East. The experiences he gained in theater, orchestra, and choir has helped to inform his design process. In particular, the opportunity to meld these activities of his youth with his profession of architecture through the design of multiple performing arts venues in his career.
The first theater project embarked upon was a renovation to the main stage of the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Clark, along with architect Chris Beardslee, continued to expand their portfolio with the design of Lincoln Public School's North Star and Southwest High Schools. The two high schools, which employ a single design at two different locations, are the newest high schools in the Lincoln Public School system. Each was designed with a 600 seat modified Proscenium stage which includes a orchestra pit which can be converted to extra stage area, tension grid catwalk system, state of the art fly loft system, large shop for set production, and separate dressing rooms for both male and female students. Included in the design was a black box theater which also functions as each school's technical theater classroom.
The next project came in 2009 for Lincoln's Southeast High School. The renovation to the school's theater, originally built in the 1950s, included an interior remodel, addition of motorized rigging, new lighting, new stage floor, orchestra pit, shop room, tension grid catwalk system, and a balcony. The addition of the balcony allowed for the 100 more seats to be added to the theater, increasing the capacity to 600. Also included in the renovation effort was improvements to the indoor air quality of the theater.
The most recent design work came from the University of Northern Iowa's School of Music, which instructs 90% of Iowa's music teachers. Russell Hall, which houses the School of Music on the Cedar Falls campus, underwent a renovation of the existing classrooms, offices, and performance hall. An 11,000 square foot building addition allowed for new performance classrooms, recording studio, and practice rooms. All of which create a state-of-the-art environment to educate future musicians and teachers.