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New rehearsal rooms bring Mason and Rockefeller ever closer

Mason Hall new addition
The newest addition to Mason Hall, a rehearsal room wing, reaches toward Rockefeller Arts Center. 

Years ago, there was a lot of space between buildings on the Fredonia campus. They seem to have grown together, and Mason Hall and Rockefeller Arts Center are a case in point.

The north wall of the original Mason Hall completed in 1941 and known affectionately as “Old Mason” is about 350 feet from the south wall of Rockefeller Arts Center (completed in 1968) – more than a football field in distance.

The first Mason Hall addition was Mason Annex, completed in 1961, reducing that distance considerably. After “New Mason” was added in 1972, expanding the building to the west, the distance between Mason and Rockefeller settled at about 125 feet – a distance any instrument-carrying student will tell you is still trouble for a rehearsal in King Concert Hall in snow and a cold wind.

With the opening of the new rehearsal room wing late this summer only 40 feet will remain. The next building phase (not yet scheduled) will combine the two structures, finally unifying performance, storage, and support facilities for all the arts at Fredonia.

For now, though, we celebrate the two new rehearsal rooms, each two to three times the size of any of our prior rehearsal spaces. They were designed and built specifically to accommodate the larger band and orchestra groups, which have grown to as many as 120 members.

The need for the new rooms was demanded in part by new building codes that established an occupancy limit of 40 for existing rooms 1051 and 1053. For rehearsals, the ensembles crammed into the spaces, and each year it was becoming a greater challenge. As the ensembles became bigger and more confident, another issue evolved. The sound created in the rooms was more than the spaces could handle. The solution was not an acoustical treatment – the rooms were simply not large enough.

Room 1075, the smaller of the two new rooms, is 50 feet by 50 feet. Room 1080 is almost 50 percent larger than that, at 60 by 70 feet. The existing room 1051, a mere 1,600 square feet, will remain an excellent rehearsal room for smaller ensembles. Room 1053 is being divided up for storage and support, including a small rehearsal space.

The addition was designed by Foit-Albert Associates and built by SLR Construction, both of Buffalo, N.Y.

posted @ Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:06 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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