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Mitchell Hall Renovation - University of Delaware - Newark, Delaware

Photo of Mitchell Hall before renovation

Photo of Mitchell Hall before renovation

When we first saw this room the building department had condemned it, it was chained and padlocked, ruined by water damage, abused by generations of partial renovations, its decorative plaster had been covered and removed, its original colors were buried under black paint, its technical equipment was a macabre museum of outdated technology, its ceiling was swiss cheese, its acoustics were a vivid demonstration of every possible flaw. The hard part in planning a project like this is standing in the middle of a ruined auditorium and having the foresight to see how, with two or three years of careful work, the rotten remains might be transformed into a truly gracious room for art and for celebrations, a room that is a joy to its community, a room that represents the community at their best.

Mitchell Hall dates from approximately 1929. It received many renovations over the years. With this renovation the room was restored to its original grace. The room serves as a lecture hall and as an auditorium for touring groups such as orchestras and dance companies. There is no permanent crew and no fly tower.

New rigging includes counterweight sets for scenery and motor operated battens for lighting. Simple events can be set up quickly with whatever crew is available.

The upper side balconies and canopy were added to shield the offending dome and side vaults from receiving any acoustical energy, which otherwise they would focus. The side balconies do double duty as a new lighting position. The dome ribs were added to diffuse any sound energy that does get to the dome.

House lighting was restored to the original design, using the oculus to do most of the work. Bright efficient indirect uplights provide general illumination suitable for work and for classroom use. Uplights are concealed above the new side balconies. The house lighting design received the IES Lumen Award.

State of the art stage lighting was installed to reduce load-in time, labor, and operating costs. This is one of the first installations of ETC Sensor dimmers with Source-4 fixtures. This is the first installation of ETC Source-4 ten-degree fixtures.

Architect: Ewing Cole Cherry Brott - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Acoustician: KMK - Chappaqua, New York

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