University of North Texas Auditorium
The University of North Texas Auditorium Building was originally constructed in 1924. The four floor facility included an unoccupied basement and an overall total of 58,292 SF of space. The project requirements were focused on giving the existing 16,500 SF 1,500 seat auditorium a complete renovation. In addition the scope required complete replacement of the building’s entire mechanical, electrical, and fire protection systems.
The historic 90-year old building holds significance on campus and is the center for the University’s music education program. A history of flooding from rainwater intrusion into the basement was a major concern. In addition, asbestos was embedded in walls and ceilings throughout the building, making replacing the outdated mechanical and electrical systems within the confines of the historic structure difficult.
One of the biggest project challenges was maintaining a construction schedule that minimized the impact on classes utilizing the facility. SSR along with the construction team developed a construction phasing plan to completely replace the air handling equipment, chilled water equipment, and associated controls in three months. During that same period time, the building’s electrical service and every piece of electrical equipment in the building had to be replaced. A new fire pump and fire sprinkler system were also added.
Attention to the acoustic characteristics in the auditorium space of the mechanical system was an important design consideration. Sound isolation and slow air velocities were incorporated into the new air handling systems serving all sensitive spaces. One of the innovative solutions associated with this challenge was relocating part of the air handling system to the basement to serve the auditorium. This not only allowed maintenance staff to service this equipment in safe and clean environment, but it also moved the noise source associated with this system away from the noise sensitive environment of the auditorium. The auditorium upgrades also include new restrooms, audio-visual equipment, and lighting.
The basement storage space was converted into a mechanical/electrical equipment space. Significant redesign of the existing internal and exterior drainage systems was required. Additionally, the existing rooftop mechanical penthouse serving the auditorium had to be removed and reconstructed. New energy efficient sound-conscious air handling equipment was installed. SSR had to be creative in replacing equipment to meet the latest codes and energy performance standards within the tight constraints of the existing building.
The renovated facility will provide a comfortable environment for students and instructors to learn for many years to come.