Renovation Nightmares

Andy Haefner

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Location
Buffalo, NY
Does anyone else have horror stories of theatre renovations? ill explain mine. My High School was renovated over the summer and almost every aspect seems as if it was done with no consultants whatsoever. They didnt lay a level subfloor so our brand new deck is uneven, the carpet lifts up, we have dead hung electrics which make it impossible to use the linesets around them, they replaced our source four lekos with LED lights 1/3 as bright. They gave us a 96 dimmer rack, but it is virtually unusable as they changed how all of our circuits are wired to accommodate their system (where we used to have 6 20-amp circuits now we have 3 spread across 2 plugs each). our houselights flash up because they opted for cheaper LEDS. our new wall sconces and chandeliers (which are ugly architectual fixtures) dont dim all the way to black, (they flash in and out because the dimming curve simply cuts power once it reaches 7 percent). To move onto sound we got crappy bose sticks in place of our QSC K12's which put out less power overall and the setup wasnt even balanced left to rght (besides having a horrible EQ to start off with) Our board has an AWFUL gain structure with the system, peaking almost with no effort. And the list goes on and on. just overall horrible job and i cant believe our superintendents even remotely okay with it. Does anyone else have similar experiences?
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
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Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
There's a lot going on there, but where did your k12's go? I cant imagine those were actually permanently installed somewhere, you weren't just left with them for stock? Theres a lot of detail you leave out. Unless there was a dsp or something set by installers, a bad eq and gain structure can be adjusted. What led's did they replace your s4's with? Why do dealing electrics effect your battens around them? if they weren't dead hung they'd still hang in the same location.

and realistically from my experience, your superintendent is fine with it because he/she likely has no clue about how any of this works and therefore cant properly judge what is a good bid/"upgrade"

Its frustrating and I've heard more bad stories than good unfortunately. My old space had been "fixed" twice before my arrival to the tune of almost $50k. Another 50k and 6 years later I finally got them to approve and fund something to set it right properly, and 3 years after that there's still an unfinished wall panel and trench in the concrete floor at the top of the theatre to the sound desk, which they never got around to finishing, despite my complaints.
 

Andy Haefner

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Location
Buffalo, NY
There's a lot going on there, but where did your k12's go? I cant imagine those were actually permanently installed somewhere, you weren't just left with them for stock? Theres a lot of detail you leave out. Unless there was a dsp or something set by installers, a bad eq and gain structure can be adjusted. What led's did they replace your s4's with? Why do dealing electrics effect your battens around them? if they weren't dead hung they'd still hang in the same location.

and realistically from my experience, your superintendent is fine with it because he/she likely has no clue about how any of this works and therefore cant properly judge what is a good bid/"upgrade"

Its frustrating and I've heard more bad stories than good unfortunately. My old space had been "fixed" twice before my arrival to the tune of almost $50k. Another 50k and 6 years later I finally got them to approve and fund something to set it right properly, and 3 years after that there's still an unfinished wall panel and trench in the concrete floor at the top of the theatre to the sound desk, which they never got around to finishing, despite my complaints.
I know i left out countless details, i was just ranting on about things i don't really even know about myself, most of it hearing from our lighting and set designers for our musical production. Yes our K12s that didnt need to be replaced were left for us as stock. and the point i was making about it was that there shouldnt have been any eq or gain structure problems, but it was done halfway like everything else so it makes sense. To be fair most of the problems are there because of poorly written specs. as for our deadhung electrics, they were hung inbetween the previously existing electric pipes and the pipes next to them, making anything we put on either of the two bump into our lighting and pull the plugs out (edison instead of twistlock or powercon)
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
I know i left out countless details, i was just ranting on about things i don't really even know about myself, most of it hearing from our lighting and set designers for our musical production. Yes our K12s that didnt need to be replaced were left for us as stock. and the point i was making about it was that there shouldnt have been any eq or gain structure problems, but it was done halfway like everything else so it makes sense. To be fair most of the problems are there because of poorly written specs. as for our deadhung electrics, they were hung inbetween the previously existing electric pipes and the pipes next to them, making anything we put on either of the two bump into our lighting and pull the plugs out (edison instead of twistlock or powercon)
If you don't like the bose and have the k12s, just go back to your old set up? Unfortunately when higher ups decide things and nobody with actual experience and no end user input, lots of details get missed and it makes for more work down the line. There are also a lot of details and plans/intensions for how a district/administration/designer wants a space to be used that don't trickle down to people, or the students using the space.

It could be easy to ruffle a lot of feathers undoing some of the new work so be careful with that, but depending on how power is delivered to your deadhung battens, you could probably relocate raceways to your old electrics. It sounds like a lot of what you have mentioned can be fixed with a good plan. Which is better than irreparable structural issues that result from poor planning.
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
My condolences. Yes, there are plenty of poorly planned and designed auditoriums and stages in high schools around this country, new and renovations. I believe the cure is to educate administrators and school boards that these spaces require some expertise.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
My condolences. Yes, there are plenty of poorly planned and designed auditoriums and stages in high schools around this country, new and renovations. I believe the cure is to educate administrators and school boards that these spaces require some expertise.
@Andy Haefner @BillConnerFASTC Speaking in agreement. My condolences as well. Too many times you hear General Contractors say "It couldn't be easier, it's just a building with a big empty hole in the middle." (And then you know you're in for a rough ride.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

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