Wenger Makes Updates to the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • July 3, 2019

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Wenger Corporation’s latest installation of acoustical, staging, rigging, control equipment, and lighting integration is at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, Texas.

Crews installed equipment in a variety of educational and performance spaces, including the main Denney Theatre, Black Box, Studio Theatre, Recital Hall, Dance Studio, Light Lab, Recording Studio, and rehearsal rooms.

Spearheaded by the Houston Independent School District Construction Services department, the design team included Gensler Architects and McCarthy Building Companies, who worked directly with Wrightson, and Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc. Theatre Consultants (WJHW), primary structural engineer Cardno Haynes Whaley, primary mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering consultant Shah Smith and Associates, and several associate consultants.

“We didn’t just build a state-of-the-art school, we built a performing arts complex that will impact future artists for generations to come,” says Jim Stevenson, Houston division president of McCarthy Building Companies.

“There were a lot of complicated parts and pieces,” explains Chris Purpura, theatre consultant at WJHW. “We had acoustical curtains, house lighting, motorized and manual rigging – and all of it had to be delivered and installed into one city block in downtown Houston. There were multiple venues so communicating well and often with Wenger Corporation was essential. It was a challenging, but fun project.”

During the two-year span of construction, Wenger Corporation, known for acoustical and rigging equipment, had added lighting system solutions to its breadth of product offerings. In the Denney Theatre, Dance Studio, Recital Hall, Black Box, and Light Lab, Wenger provided integration of all entertainment lighting fixtures, networking, distribution, and lighting controls.

The integration of the lighting solutions across the building provided the school with ease of control and serviceability. Wenger also managed the integration of the multi-faceted project including the lighting elements, acoustical shell, automated and counterweight rigging solutions, motion control solutions, portable audience seating, staging, and music rehearsal equipment.

“The integration provided continuity in the building for those using the equipment, as well as a single point of contact for any service questions,” says Ryan Cole, Wenger Corporation project manager.

The heart and soul of the building is the 800-seat Denney Theatre, which is utilized for a variety of performance types ranging from orchestra and choral to dance, theatre, and lectures. To enhance the sound quality and ability to cater to these performers, teams installed a variety of Wenger and J.R. Clancy equipment, including a Diva Acoustical Shell to improve the sound for audiences as well as performers on stage, and a SceneControl Motion Control System, with the ability to program a number of shows, no matter how complex. PowerLift Hoists and Signature Choral Risers were also installed.

In the Black Box Theatre, the Wenger portable audience seating and StageTek risers provide flexible configurations for the theatre’s many needs. For the band, orchestra, and vocal areas, Wenger installed 31 SoundLok Practice Rooms with superior sound isolation, making each room 25 percent quieter than any other practice room available. The correct amount of absorption and diffusion is built-in so the musician can clearly hear the best possible sound. The rooms also have built-in virtual acoustic environment (VAE) technology, allowing the musician to learn how to adapt to performing in different performance spaces and get immediate feedback with record/playback during the practice session.

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