An average of 1,150 cars park in The Arts Garage during a typical work day. On dates when there are performances and events in the Schuster Center, there may be as many as 700 additional cars going into The Arts Garage! The gates move up and down as many times as cars enter and exit the parking garage, and over the years the arms on those gates have gotten tired and worn. The old system had grown obsolete and its software and parts were no longer supported by vendors. The newly installed state-of-the-art equipment features friendly “welcome” and “thank you for visiting” messages, and the remote access component allows VTA staff to monitor security and traffic flow in The Arts Garage even if they are offsite. We will soon be implementing options for guests to pay with a credit card or scan a digital parking pass.
A new fire pump control panel was installed in the Victoria Theatre, exchanging an old panel that was outdated and hard to maintain with a state-of-the-art unit. VTA staff have the capability to monitor the status of the new pump with actual runtime data.
We replaced the original cork flooring in Citilites Restaurant in the Schuster Center with new flooring that is easier to maintain and brightens up the dining area.
Among the many upgrades to VTA’s facilities in 2016 is the recently completed lighting project on the exterior wall of the Schuster Center. When you walk across Ludlow Street from The Arts Garage, look way, way up along the south facing brick wall. We have replaced 22 halogen lights that were consuming 250 watts of energy each with 22 new LED lights using only 82 watts of energy per bulb! This amounts to a difference of 3,696 total working watts, which we expect to result in a 60 percent cost savings.
The air conditioning system that cools the Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC) has been serving us well for the past 26 years. Like many pieces of equipment that are constantly in use, this system had begun to show its age, suffering from leaks, failed compressors, electrical issues, and other assorted problems. We weighed the cost of making repairs against the expense of installing a new system, and decided it was time to replace the old AC unit with a new model.
So, late one night at the end of January, with the help from our friends at the City of Dayton, we blocked off Main Street in front of the Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC) to make the exchange. To prepare for the installation of the new system, we disconnected the old AC units from the roof of the MAC.
A crane carefully hoisted the old equipment from the roof, and moved it to a flatbed truck waiting below on Main Street. Then next step was to place the new units onto the roof of the MAC. Swapping these large pieces of equipment at night was the best way to manage the process so there would be minimal disruption to normal pedestrian and vehicle traffic through downtown Dayton. The new system is much more cost effective since it offers a precise operating temperature range, and should last for at least 30 years. Patrons attending events in the MAC, and artists rehearsing and performing in this facility now enjoy a more comfortable environment as they experience the arts!
Years ago, the decision was made to house heating and cooling equipment on the top floors of both the Victoria Theatre and the Metropolitan Arts Center (MAC), far away from the potential threat of any rising flood waters! Since the upper floor of a building is rarely the location for this type of equipment, delivering new boilers was quite an undertaking. There had been four half-ton/1500 MBH boilers heating the Victoria Theatre and Metropolitan Arts Center since 1989. These units were skillfully dismantled and removed from the building, and then replaced with brand new, highly efficient systems in June, 2015. A crane was used to lift the equipment to a fifth floor opening, where staff and laborers moved the new pieces into place. With these new, energy efficient models to heat and cool the Victoria Theatre and the Metropolitan Arts Center, VTA will realize significant energy savings. Staff can accurately regulate the temperature in office spaces and meeting rooms, as well as rehearsal studios and onstage so we all enjoy a more comfortable environment throughout the year.
Exterior renovation of the Victoria Theatre’s façade to restore and seal the building envelope began in March, 2015. Contractors are working to paint, patch and repair the exterior of the building. The paint colors, including the gold tone used for the word “VICTORIA” at the top of the building are part of the palette of colors approved by the National Register of Historical Places. Additional work to refurbish the brass entrance doors is scheduled to begin soon. These projects are funded in part by a grant awarded to Victoria Theatre Association through the State of Ohio Arts & Culture 2015-2016 Biennium Budget Capital Bill.
In May 2014, VTA purchased a Yamaha C7 Grand Piano to be used for performances on stage in the Schuster Center and Victoria Theatre. We have rented pianos for several years, and chose to invest in this particular instrument, a popular choice of many pianists, because of its reputation for outstanding quality and value. You will find this type of grand piano on concert stages, in music studios and at prestigious music events all over the world. This beautiful instrument is known for its impeccable resonance, superior tone and quality construction. The piano’s soundboard is made from spruce hardwood, its fittings include solid brass pedals and casters, and it has a polished ebony finish. Our new grand piano is 7 feet 6 inches long, 61 inches wide, and weighs 913 pounds.
The Schuster Center loading dock was upgraded in the fall of 2014 with LED lights that are durable, long lasting, and energy efficient. These new bulbs provide instant lighting and radiate less heat than the old fluorescent lights which took several minutes to warm up and reach their full brightness. VTA production and facilities management staff, as well as personnel from touring companies and event producers easily maneuver equipment through the loading dock under the bright light from the LED bulbs. The lighting quality is also improved since LED lights have the ability to distribute light evenly over a wide area. Darrell Abner, VTA’s Maintenance Director, expects to see noticeable savings using this improved lighting technology, with some savings due to lower replacement costs for the new, longer lasting LED light bulbs. Darrell anticipates seeing about a 70 percent savings when these lights are in use.
A new system to monitor the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the Schuster Center, Victoria Theatre and Metropolitan Arts Center was installed in the summer of 2014. This computerized system helps staff manage energy use, and will automatically send an alert that allows us to make adjustments to keep the system working efficiently. VTA Maintenance Director Darrell Abner depends on the new system to let staff know when problems arise, such as a malfunctioning valve or a unit that needs to be reset. “With this new system in place, we can proactively respond and address any issues right away, before they become a big, expensive problem,” Darrell said.
One of the first projects undertaken by The Next Stage Campaign was replacement of the Schuster Center’s 11-year-old carpet!