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Western Nebraska Community College

Welcome Center
and Theater
Addition

Client
Western Nebraska Community College
Location
Scottsbluff, NE
Size
70,760 SF
Completion date
October 2019

The WNCC Welcome Center and Theater serves as the center for student gatherings on campus. The renovation and addition accommodate a new student services one-stop shop suite, business office, student gathering/socialization space and meeting and study rooms, as well as a new learning center and student union.

Areas of renovation and new construction included a complete renovation of the mechanical system and transformation of the facility to the crown jewel of student activity on campus. The addition of the new grand entry and lobby along with the new orientation of the theater creates a better separation between the front of house and back of house to improve the experiences for the audience and performers. 

The new and improved theater and performance hall has the capacity to accommodate both the theater and music programs along with the performance needs of the college and the Scottsbluff Community in an intimate, engaging setting. Reducing the width of audience seating and pushing it closer to the stage creates a more intimate experience visually and acoustically. 

The new theater has sound and light locks at the entrances and improved sound isolation between the audience and the performance area. In addition to the theater, choral, instrumental classrooms, and practice rooms were designed to create a true performing arts education facility.  

During initial conversations about the Main Building, it became increasingly important for the design team to solve users' needs to navigate the complex building by adding a system of wayfinding signs and other area identifications. A thorough on-site documentation effort emerged, and a recommendation was made for a system that would go beyond the minimum ADA code required signage, solve communication gaps, and provide elevated functionality. 

Extra care was taken to ensure the design of the sign systems would be able to be updated in rural Nebraska with minimum maintenance and downtime to accommodate the ever-evolving use of space and nomenclature in higher education. The design team's work extended to the campus site with the delivery of a campus wayfinding master plan for future signage as the administration continues to execute site-wide development.