Never let a school design a theater

Edrick

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Boston, MA
well if you've read my hello thread, as you know I'm the technical director for our schools brand new theater, the whole school is brand new.

Well to list a few things they screwed up big time on,

Stage Flooring: The school board desided they needed the front of the stage with a finished wood floor (waxed ect...) Not such a big deal since the red curtain cuts the black stage off when closed for regular events but for theater events it doesn't look too good.

Well so the black part that's suppose to be marley "spelling", is just regular wood with black paint over it, thus alls you can see is cracks as it's in no ways close together big gaps in it and the paint is chipping off. It scratches easy as hell so that's all you can see is imprints from things that were on stage.

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Communications- wired com system how ever no com hookups on stage, none by rigging, non up back, and none on the other side. No communication to back stage (chorus and band room), and No Wireless System.

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Back Stage Preview- A must for the plays, the wiring was cut out of the budget.

Alright so now the last part of your training I really don't want to say what this is, but I have too. This is the amp for your back stage preview system which they cut the wiring out of the budget.

we have the amp and the big speakers sitting in the storage closet but no way to connect it into the system.

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Projector System- The whole place is wired for a projector system front stage hookups, in floor hookups around the theater, a whole A/v setup in the front rack so the principle can just come in and play a video, and even the wiring was run. But they cut the projector out of the budget.

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The stage- In part with the wrong stage flooring put in, the waxed part is warping and it's un even, the front lip trim has snapped due to stress of being put in uneven and the front brown partical board part is chipping.

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The lighting system, the company abandoned us said they came out a year ago when no one was even in the school as it hadn't been turned over to the city yet. thus they were not obligated to train us on the system.

4,000 Software system (WYSIWYG) useless to us, they tried installing it on a FAT32 Formmated system (which if you read the manual it says it WILL NOT work on) and they just gave up. We had to fix it our self and find a company to train us on it.

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Chris15

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Hey, be thankful for the fact that you at least have a theatre. Many of us don't.

Now your projection doesn't sound like a problem to me. You have complained, with a reasonable amount of justification, about the lack of wiring for various other things. So consider that the wiring for the projectors is there. So when you can afford them, installation should be nice and easy.
 

jmabray

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Feb 9, 2007
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Dallas, Texas
You didn't mention where you were located. Can you?
 

Edrick

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Boston, MA
the problem is the school will never actually buy it. It's a Public school after all. we're cutting the budget by 1.25 Million because we've built too many new schools 4 elementry and 1 70 million dollar highschool.

Also there's a slight chance that where the projector was suppose to go they put a camera there in replacement and just re fished the wiring.

I'm located in Woburn, MA
 

fosstech

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Jun 7, 2004
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Tacoma, WA USA
We had a similar problem when my high school's theatre was renovated. Brand new sound system, brand new digital console, no mic wiring to/from the stage. Cut by some incompetent bean-counter in the district's administration. We brought the issue up to the school's administrators who wholeheartedly agreed with us. They forced the school district to install the appropriate cabling
 

Edrick

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We haven't gone to the school board as we have to go through the "proper channels" which gets us no where so we might end up doing that. I know all the people anyways it's just a matter of going and bringing it up. We do have a major event here tonight with the people from the state and city about the i95 Highway change or something it's a community event but the big shots have to be here.

Oh ****... the projector broke you can't do your presentation guess we shouldn't have cut it from the budget :p

I wish it was that simple.
 

tenor_singer

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Apr 1, 2004
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Orwell, Ohio
I think that schools are in a catch 22. If they spend beyond their budget... the public gets mad and voices their anger by voting "no" for future levies. If they make the necessary cuts to stay on budget, the public gets mad and voices their anger by voting "no" for future levies. What are they to do?

The school didn't design the school. Yes... they made some decisions about the design because they are seeing the grand picture and not just your specific area (like the stage being used for things other than theater or like purchasing better, longer lasting desks instead of projecters). To be honest, they probably farmed all design processes out to some architectural firm who then designed the building. The school didn't construct the school. They probably hired a general construction firm that subcontracted the wiring, flooring, painting, etc... out to other specialists in the field.

Everything you mentioned is an issue with installation or design. Your issues should be with the companies who did the shoddy work and hopefully your school has held back payment until their punch cards are finished. As far as the budget cuts... would your school's community support further funds by increasing the initial levy amount? If yes... go for more. If no (which will probably be the case), at least you now have fundraising motivation.

Enjoy your new space. After all, as bad as you think it is... it is a far cry better than the crap that many other schools out there deal with (like my friend's school that has to build their stage in the gymnasium the weekend prior to their performance).
 

Edrick

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Boston, MA
The contractor that built the school went bankrupt we were their last building according to the building manager. there's probably more behind that story, we have a case of they hired the cheapest contractor, who didn't think and thus we're screwed over in some areas. The building manager who's incharge of contacting the companies gave us the "you want to see my report of all the other problems in the school", More important items such as the sports areas :p again.

I've been waiting for 3 days to get the holes in the control room table put in so I can run the power and sound cables through them instead of infront of the table like they've been for the past 7 Months.
 

Chris15

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(like my friend's school that has to build their stage in the gymnasium the weekend prior to their performance).
I think I can go one better. Same sort of setup. But I ha to pull down everything - the stage, the set, the lighting stands, the chairs, etc. after one show, stack it all to the side before I went home so they could have an exam in the hall the next day. Exam finishes and I have to set the whole thing back up again for the second show that night... Luckily everyone pitched in to make it happen, but boy I don't want to repeat that any time soon.
 

astrotechie

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Mar 23, 2007
Location
Woburn, MA
We haven't gone to the school board as we have to go through the "proper channels" which gets us no where so we might end up doing that. I know all the people anyways it's just a matter of going and bringing it up. We do have a major event here tonight with the people from the state and city about the i95 Highway change or something it's a community event but the big shots have to be here.

The only problem that we will run into if we don't go through proper channels is that we get kicked off and the school never listens to us again. But the big shots have no clue what is going on at the hs and the school officals are masking the truth.
 

gafftaper

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Just want to throw in here that it's as much a problem with architects as it is the school it self. Our new campus black box was absolutely crazy when I first got involved. They were going to build an approximately 75 foot square building and that was it, no shop, no green room, no dressing rooms, nothing. Just a big square black box. We fortunately were able to get a theater consultant to work on the project with the architect and that all changed. Over night the project turned into a real theater... with all kinds of cool little extras like a sprung floor, a shop with a giant roll up door and covered loading dock, and even a small line set system so we can raise and lower a few simple scenic elements. Even with the theater consultant I still had to fight to get a wood floor in most of the scene shop.

Anyway, the lesson learned is that if you work for an institution who is going to build a theater you MUST get a theater consultant to work with the architect if you want the place done right.
 

TimMiller

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Mar 27, 2007
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Houston, Tx
I remember back at my hs. They got the school remodeled. And we were going to get all new equipment along with a new blackbox with a wench system. Well... what we got was a black box and a portable dimmer system (luckally back in hs i knew how to tie in power not sure what they are doing now). Still all the same old dimmers and we thankfully had an ETC 48/96. But they had to scrap for money to buy paint and such. I also learned that scoops make great cyc lights LOL. I was working at one school in which the school electrician hooked up the dimmer. So nothing was in order and things were hard twofered and threefered and they werent even mirrored. One show i was doing there we kept popping breakers and i kept resetting them until the last show the dimmer rack caught on fire. That made for a great grand fanalie.
 

Van

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..........with a new blackbox with a wench system. ......
Now that's exactly what I need, a new Wench system!
Is that from Sapsis? or Iwiess ?
:mrgreen: :twisted:
Welcome Aboard Tim, sorry I couldn't resist.
 

MHSTech

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Ohio

The only problem that we will run into if we don't go through proper channels is that we get kicked off and the school never listens to us again. But the big shots have no clue what is going on at the hs and the school officals are masking the truth.
Ha, what else is new?

Maybe you've already done it, but check to bid specs for the project and make sure everything was followed exactly and that you got everything you were supposed to. I'm not sure how this applies if the company went bankrupt, but if they didn't finish the project according to specs, the school is not obligated to pay them. At least that is my understanding of how it works.

Your venue sounds like a typical new public school venue. We got screwed out of a lot of good things too due to state constraints and budget cuts in the project (also mainly from the state). Actually, they came in during the middle of the build and saw the way we worked our bids and what we had and told us "You have too nice of a building," next thing that happened was some of our funding from the state got cut.
 

gafftaper

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we were going to get all new equipment along with a new blackbox with a wench system.
Hey they don't like to be called Wenches any more... I believe the preferred term is "Dames" or "Babes".

Sorry I was on Jury duty today and spent the whole day thinking about punch lines and just had to post one more.