Phase two renovations to complete transformation of synagogue into arts center
In 2014, Buffalo Grove Park District (BGPD) moved its Community Arts Center into a former synagogue. Longtime BGPD partner Legat Architects designed the phase one renovations that transformed the main worship space into a theater.
Since then, the Community Arts Center has hosted everything from the Spring Craft Fair and “Buffalo Grove’s Got Talent” to “Cinderella’s Royal Ball” (children’s event) and “Catch Me If You Can: The Musical.”
However, the 2014 budget only allowed for partial renovation of the theater and an adjacent multipurpose space.
Nicole Horn, Buffalo Grove native and Legat team member, said, “The current sight and sound limitations, the low ceiling, the flat seating, and the raised stage mean it’s hard for people in the back of the theater to get the full experience.”
Additional funding has come through to literally and figuratively take the Buffalo Grove Community Arts Center to the next level. Phase two construction, slated to begin in October, features a 13,250-square-foot theater renovation that brings tiered seating, a raised ceiling, and acoustic clouds.
Legat design director Mike Maloney said, “The upgrades will make the theater space feel more open and allow for better acoustics.”
The project also includes a new north entrance, concessions stand, renewed lobby, new multipurpose rooms, and site modifications. Renovations will improve gathering areas where high exposed ceilings still have an intimidating and cold warehouse feel left over from the building’s original use as a Seigle’s (hardware store).
Within the lobby, wood-patterned luxury vinyl tile flooring, oxidized wall tile accents, lower-hanging lights, and acoustic clouds will add more visual drama. At night, those passing by or approaching the facility off McHenry Road will see a window graphic of the park district logo, as well as an eight-foot-wide circular contemporary lighting fixture in the west lobby.
Maloney said, “The project will transform the existing dated interiors into a lively community center that celebrates the arts and creates a contemporary industrial aesthetic through the materials and color palette.”
BGPD Gets Preview of Renewed Spaces
BGPD representatives recently visited Legat’s Gurnee, Illinois studio, where they took a virtual reality tour of how the revived Community Arts Center will look. The tour, created by Legat and IMEG Corp, enabled them to get a better sense of scale and understand how colors and materials interact.
“The virtual reality tour of the renovation project at our Community Arts Center exceeded my
expectations,” said Ryan Risinger, BGPD Executive Director. “I was able to see exactly how the facility is going to look. It is truly a remarkable tool that I look forward to showing my Board of Commissioners and residents of the community. I believe it will only add to the excitement that is already out there for this project.”
Last year, BGPD’s community performance group Big Deal Productions received eight nominations and two wins in Broadway World Chicago’s Chicagoland area theater awards program. When construction of phase two renovations finishes in spring 2018, Big Deal Productions (and the entire Buffalo Grove community) will have home that is worthy of their performances.
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