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  Student Services & Visual/Performing Arts Complex, Bay CollegeStudent Services & Visual/Performing Arts Complex, Bay College


Straub Pettitt Yaste Architects
850 North Crooks Road, #200, Clawson, MI 48017

General Description

Location: Escanaba, Michigan
Date Bid: Sep 2007
Construction Period: Oct 2007 to Sep 2008
Total Square Feet: 28,450 Site: 60 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 28,450 (9,850 renovation);
total, 28,450 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 14’; theatre fly loft, 46’; total, 46’.
Basic Construction Type: Addition/Renovation. Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick. Roof: Built up. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall, CMU.

Construction Team

Structural Engineer: Robert Darvas Associates - 440 South Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
General Contractor: Gundlach Champion, Inc. - 600 E. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, MI 49931
Mechanical Engineer: Potapa-VanHoosear Engineering, Inc. - 47810 Van Dyke Avenue, Shelby Township, MI 48317
Electrical Engineer: Berbiglia Associates, Inc. - 36400 West Twelve Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331

John and Melissa Besse of Gladstone, Michigan donated $4,700,000 to Bay de Noc Community College to construct a Visual and Performing Arts Complex at the Escanaba campus. The improvement of facilities for the visual and performing arts was a part of the college's master plan for a number of years.

The new Besse Center consists of renovations to existing spaces and new construction. The existing lecture hall was gutted including the roof, entirely renovated, doubled in size, and new spaces were added to include stage, stage wings, workshop for set design, dressing rooms, green room, control booth, music practice rooms, and art gallery. Student Services Facilities were completely renovated to create a more up-to-date image and functionality for new students and visitors.

The new 287 seat theatre includes a fly loft with 20 pipe battens, 2 lighting catwalks, an orchestra pit, and a complete wireless microphone sound system. Dark oak convex sound diffusing panels, light blue acoustic absorbing panels, red upholstered seats, red curtains, and red custom designed patterned carpet add a sense of warmth to the theatre space.

The unique characteristic of this project is that the theatre lobby is also the Campus Art Gallery. This space also serves as the main circulation path to the Cafeteria and the Student Services so that students and visitors are constantly surrounded by and aware of the art on display. The interior walls are painted white to not distract from the art displays. Abundant natural light and adjustable track lighting allows for unlimited art arrangements.

The exterior entry to this space is capped with a clear glass and white steel webbed cylinder that serves as a welcoming beacon not only for the theatre and art gallery but for the entire campus.

An adjacent smaller round brick element houses the addition's mechanical and electrical equipment and serves as a knuckle between dark gray metal panels of the new building and the brick of the Student Services Center.

North of the new theatre lobby and art gallery is the newly renovated student services area. This one-stop location for all the student services is redesigned to be an open and welcoming space. All office spaces have glass partitions that front onto a large work area, which houses the support staff, receptionist welcome desk and self-help computer kiosks.   

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