The William Henry Belk Auditorium has served as the “Center of the Performing Arts” for over 60 years at the entrance of the historic Presbyterian College campus established in 1880 in Clinton, South Carolina. Renowned performers and lecturers have performed on its stage throughout its history. It has also hosted key College events, lecturers, and music programs. After years of deferred maintenance, the College initiated a renovation of the historic Georgian Revival building’s lobby and auditorium to preserve its historic significance to the community and improve its accessibility features, restroom capacity, and theatrical systems to guarantee its historic role as an arts center for years to come.
Careful attention was taken to preserve and repair the lobby’s historic walls, millwork, and terrazzo flooring while adding new features including accessible doors to expanded restrooms, a historical timeline display, ADA compliant door hardware, acoustical control features at the ceiling and doors, and dimmable lighting. Pilasters and base trim were added as architectural enhancements. The new doors, door casings, and replacement hardware were carefully detailed to match the historic elements.
The previous restrooms flanking the lobby were gutted and reconfigured to triple the restroom capacity while meeting ADA requirements. The rear wall of the auditorium was modified to facilitate the expansion and reconstructed to maximize sound isolation. The tile colors and patterns and restroom accessories were detailed to match the historic architectural style.
The renovations to the 923-seat auditorium preserve the historic proscenium, flanking organ lofts, and plaster walls and ceilings. Wood trim was thoughtfully added at the stage edge to allow ADA access from portable ADA lifts. Millwork was also carefully added along the room’s sidewalls to facilitate future theatrical technical components. New walls and ceilings were added under the balcony to isolate lobby and restroom sound noise and finished with acoustical wall panels to control sound for patrons in those seats. The existing floor geometry was modified on house left to add an ADA compliant route from the front of house to the stage previously not available. The seating was replaced and reconfigured to provide accessible seating positions throughout the auditorium and allow the flexible use of the forestage and rear cross aisle area. The new carpet and curtains complement the room’s historic appearance, and the new color scheme enhances the room’s architectural features. Dimmable lighting was added throughout the space. Mechanical fans and ductwork were replaced with sound dampening components to eliminate distracting audible fan and air noise throughout the auditorium.
On stage, the existing counterweight rigging system was replaced with a motorized and dead hung hybrid system for safety and flexibility. Onstage performance lighting was refurbished and replaced with a new control system. New light positions were added in the auditorium ceiling and at the organ lofts to enhance the lighting of the stage. A new sound system was also added. The stage was re-stained and re-finished.
19 Washington ParkGreenville, SC 29601
2504 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
© 2022 Craig Gaulden Davis Architecture. An Engenius Website.