Project File: Center stage

The Greece Central School District, North Greece, N.Y., began a 20-building, five-year capital-improvement project in May 2000. The flagship of the project was the performing-arts center addition to Athena High School/Middle School.

The Athena Performing Arts Center houses four large vocal/instrumental rehearsal spaces, a voice studio, a dance studio, two music-theory classrooms and an auditorium that seats 1,664 people. Dressing rooms, scenery shops, costume shops and support spaces have been provided to accommodate special star events and large school-based productions.

Theatrical systems such as motorized rigging and select sound reinforcement were installed to maximize safety and flexibility. An orchestra lift allows the apron of the stage to function at various heights and a full orchestra to bolster theatrical performances without becoming the focus.

The addition was situated to untangle traffic patterns and to allow zoned access of the facility from public to private. Circulation through the lobby was designed to create a zigzag traffic pattern that would look like a dance when viewed from outside.

The grounds surrounding the building were landscaped to accommodate runoff requirements by allowing a slow release into the municipal storm system. This creates educational opportunities for science classes to study the system.

The architect is The Thomas Group (Ithaca, N.Y.).

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