The Hale Center Theatre in Sandy City, Utah, cost $80 million and officially opened on September 1, 2017.
Theater construction projects come with an inherent set of challenges for engineers, architects, and construction managers. Besides audience safety, they also must meet the needs of performers, create space for set deployment, and account for directors and producers who demand precise timing and mechanical performance to deliver the best production possible.
SETTING THE SCENE
Architects were especially challenged by the newly-constructed Hale Center Theatre in Sandy City, Utah. The theater cost $80 million, construction began in 2015, and the venue officially opened on September 1, 2017. The new structure replaces a facility in nearby West Valley City, seats 1,360 guests, and includes two stages. Tait Towers, whose portfolio includes work for the Opening Ceremonies at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, designed the stage. The theater is among the most technologically advanced in the United States, and perhaps the world.
Among the challenges for Layton Construction, the general contractor for the project, were its roofing and flooring needs. Both are essential components to quality theater performance and, with a project of this magnitude, the contractor needed the equipment that produced the best outcome.
Layton turned to Cannon Sales in Centerville, Utah, for help with roofing and flooring. Cannon is one of Utah’s most experienced resources for commercial construction specialty products. Zack Williams of Cannon suggested BILCO acoustical smoke vents and double-leaf terrazzo doors, both which proved essential to the project’s construction.
Williams says Layton’s approval for the smoke vents went smoothly. BILCO provided 20 acoustical smoke vents with 24-volt electric thermolatches, which prevent inadvertent opening of the covers caused by wind or building vibrations. The smoke vents feature an STC-46 acoustical sound rating that guards against noise intrusion—a must-have for the Hale Center.
The smoke vents are commonly used in concert halls, theaters, and other interior applications that restrict noise from the outside. They also provide the security of automatic smoke venting. The vents include gas spring operators to open the covers in snow and wind and have built-in dampers to assure smooth opening and eliminate the possibility of operational, roofing, or structural damage.
Williams says several revisions were made during the project’s construction on the size of the doors. “We had to make size revisions because the doors needed to accommodate the theater crew moving stage equipment from below up to the performance floor,’’ Williams explains. “We had to change things a couple of times.”
Layton installed two double-leaf terrazzo doors, designed with a pan cover to accept a variety of flooring materials. Each door is spring balanced to ensure smooth, easy operation upon installation of the flooring material. The door includes an aluminum frame with built-in anchor flange around the perimeter.
THE FINAL CUT
The theater’s construction was a complicated and extensive process. Williams says the contractor appreciated finding a supplier with critical components to a puzzle that needed extreme detail. Like the shows on the Hale Center Theatre’s stages, every construction piece had to be perfect. “The thermolatches are integral with the smoke vents,’’ Williams says. “The fact that BILCO makes those and floor doors as well made it easier for the contractor to come to us and kill two birds with one stone.”
Theater President Mark Dietlein and his wife, Sally, the theater’s vice president, have big dreams for their new facility. Aida, a Disney musical with music by Elton John, was the first show at Hale’s 900-seat center stage. It opened November 2017 and showcased the theater’s technological wonders.
“Hale Center Theatre does great things with what it has now,’’ said Jeff Beecher, vice president of Layton Construction in an interview with Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. “It’s going to be unbelievable what they’re going to be able to do with this building.”
For More Information:
The BILCO Company is a building industry pioneer in the design and development of specialty access products. BILCO —an ISO 9001 certified company—offers a line of roof hatches, automatic fire vents, floor access doors, natural ventilation products, smoke and fire curtains, and a complete line of residential access products. For more information, visit www.bilco.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2018
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