West Ottawa High School has been named a GRAMMY Signature School for its outstanding music program. The school’s student performers in choir, band, orchestra, and jazz ensembles consistently receive top ratings and awards, as does the theater arts program. All arts and STEM programs in the district are heavily supported by the community, and the district aims to increase the competitiveness of its programs by establishing a new, high-end performing arts center. West Ottawa is establishing a new Performing Arts Center (PAC) as part of its 2019 bond initiative.
The new PAC will complement an existing facility at Harbor Lights Middle School, expanding the district’s capability to grow student performers as well as the potential to host professional performing companies. The scope includes an approximately 56,000-square-foot addition to the North High School centered around a 1,200-seat center focused on a stage with a full-fly loft. This premier performance program is augmented by a feature entrance lobby and secondary performance space, as well as a breadth of support spaces to ensure a high-functioning and flexible facility. The district was interested fundamentally in a building that is resilient and durable, but that conveys a high-end, professional performance venue for the community. In addition to the main stage, multiple areas within the center double as performance / multi-use spaces, including the front entrance lobby, the balcony space, and a monumental staircase in the lobby.
Wood treatments throughout bring a warmer, professional aesthetic to the performance venue, and layering less resilient materials and finishes slightly out of reach ensures they won’t be susceptible to damage. Structural concrete block is placed in strategic locations for durability. Most rooms are opaque and acoustically controlled for practice and performance, while glass is an important feature in the lobby area, establishing a welcoming transparent view into the center’s foyer from the road.
Supported by a 2019 bond initiative, the West Ottawa Performing Arts Center – much like the student performers and artists who will occupy the space – is a source of pride for the community and a facility that will become a central hub for the arts.