The Sullivan Auditorium at Worcester State University has a prominent location at the entrance to the campus and is in frequent use. The venue not only serves the campus community as a lecture hall and performance space, but is regularly rented to community groups for any number of activities, including dance competitions and theater productions.
While it is an in-demand space, the 1960s-era building is in need of significant renovation to make it fully accessible for people with disabilities, and requires a major upgrade to its technology, lighting, and sound to better meet contemporary expectations. Worcester State asked LPA|A to undertake a study of the auditorium. With the study completed and submitted last month, it is expected that construction on the project will begin at the end of the next school year.
The highest priority is to make the entire auditorium accessible, including doorways, restrooms, the stage and backstage areas.
Both interior and exterior doorways will be renovated and replaced, as entrances are currently undersized. A raised platform with accessible ramps will allow for wheelchair accessibility from the lobby to the stage, to seating and the academic building without having to use a lift. Seating capacity in the auditorium will be reduced from over 1,000 to around 800 to accommodate the accessibility features, including larger seating options.
New theatrical lighting and sound systems will contribute to a vastly improved theater and class lecture experience. A new audiovisual system and mix position, new LED-based lighting at the stage, a new suspended theatrical light track, and new dimmer panel controls are all anticipated to be part of the project.
The lobby will also undergo extensive renovation including new, more durable finishes, giving the entire space an updated look. Overall, the intention is to make the space more functional, comfortable, and visually appealing for all users of the auditorium, whether attending a lecture, performing, watching a rehearsal or teaching a class.