The fifty-year old, deteriorating faÃ§ade on Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s historic amphitheatre will be gone by the time the curtain rises on SPAC’s 2012 Season. A project to renovate SPAC’s faÃ§ade is getting underway, with completion projected for May.
In recent years, the deterioration of the amphitheatre’s exterior has become visibly pronounced. The current board and batten siding has endured five decades of upstate weather conditions and as a result, has significant warping, fading, wood rot and disintegration. The poor condition of the faÃ§ade has compromised the amphitheatre’s aesthetics and created safety concerns surrounding the integrity of the aging materials.
The new faÃ§ade will be a more contemporary version of the existing shield design with a new faceted aspect to add depth and interest. Warm, wood veneer panels of “Parklex,” a high-density, weather-resistant material, will be fastened to the exterior of each shield frame. Project planning and design has been sensitive to preserving the exceptional acoustics of the amphitheatre.
Existing surfaces on the amphitheatre side and roof dormers will be replaced with a brown, durable, weather resistant fiber cement board.
The project will also include replacement and repositioning of the speakers currently mounted on the faÃ§ade that project sound to the lawn. Upgraded speakers will be integrated within the shield faÃ§ade and positioned at a higher level to provide better audio coverage and quality on the lawn. The current speakers sit too low in the enclosure for the acreage that needs to be reached, resulting in audio gaps in some areas of the lawn.
“An iconic, world-class home for the performing arts should have an outward appearance that projects that image; by the time our 2012 Season opens, we’ll have one. Our new amphitheatre faÃ§ade will feature a unique, three-dimensional update of the existing shield design that has become our amphitheatre’s trademark,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President & Executive Director. “This fresh faÃ§ade will underscore SPAC’s advance into a new era.”
During February and March, the project timeline calls for removal of the wooden shields on the amphitheatre faÃ§ade and board & batten on the sides, and pre-fabrication of three-dimensional steel frame followed by attachment of Parklex siding. In early spring, look for installation of three-dimensional shields on the faÃ§ade and cement board on sides and dormers, and integration of upgraded speakers into the faÃ§ade structure.
After a competitive bidding process, Bonacio Construction was selected as the contractor for the project. The renovation began immediately and is projected to be complete by the end of May.
The project is a gift from Susan and Bill Dake. The Dakes noted that their gift was motivated by a recognition of “SPAC’s cultural and economic impact on the greater Capital Region.”
The State of New York has invested over $4.5 million in SPAC facilities since 2005. “SPAC is an outstanding partner for programming in Saratoga Spa State Park, where we welcome over 1.7 million visitors each year. We are thrilled to support this new faÃ§ade project, a terrific example of leveraging state funding with private investments to sustain a magnificent facility. We thank the Dake family for their outstanding generosity,” said Rose Harvey, New York State Parks Commissioner.
“I am inspired by the extraordinary generosity of this latest gift from the Dake family to Saratoga Performing Arts Center. From the very beginning to the present day, the Dakes have been SPAC’s strongest allies, investing vision, leadership and resources to advance this treasured landmark,” said White. “With this project, Bill and Susan have provided an example of civic leadership that is reminiscent of the dedication of SPAC’s founders. As we look ahead to our landmark 50th Anniversary, it is inspiring to see that visionary spirit still making a difference here at SPAC,” said White.
Regularly updated photos and videos of the amphitheatre renovation will be posted on SPAC’s website, www.spac.org, to enable the public to chart the progress of the project throughout the construction phase.
Photo Courtesy Of SPAC