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Capitol Theater

Historic Theater Renovation and Addition: This project provided for the renovation and expansion of the last remaining historic theater in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Program features included the installation of a new sprinkler and alarm system throughout the building, the installation of new seating in the 850 seat show hall, a new black-box theater and meeting space with supporting backstage spaces, a gallery space, a ballet studio, new administrative office space, new concession, and box office space and new restroom space. The project also provided new parking and drop-off areas for the facility.

The project was notable for several reasons:

  • The project was located in a historic district and was subject to a historic review.
  • The building was located in the downtown area, and portions of the building were not located on the main street. Parking, wayfinding, and street presence were all important issues for the design.
  • Two adjacent residential properties, located in the downtown historic district, were not suitable for incorporation into the facility but occupied space needed for the expansion of the theater. These buildings needed to be removed and replaced with an addition that respected the historic character of the street wall.
  • Concept design documents were a key tool used in the fundraising campaign to pay for the project. Multiple design iterations were considered as the funding goal was adjusted during the capital campaign.
  • The building has a downtown pedestrian street presence on one side and a parking and drop-off entrance on the rear. Both sides of the building had to have attractive, welcoming entrances that addressed the needs of people approaching them.
  • The building has a state-of-the-art black box theater that can seat 160 people. The theater has a fly loft for the configuration of theatrical lighting and effects. Space can also be configured for meeting or conference room events that can provide an additional revenue stream for the theater.
  • The theater was very old and had been constructed before the implementation of modern building codes. Careful consideration and coordination with code authorities were necessary to make the building satisfy current fire safety requirements. The sprinkler system was a key factor in making the building usable by the theater.

The total Construction Cost for the project was $5,500,000, delivered under a traditional design-bid-build contract.

Carter Architectural Design staff led, managed, and designed this project while employed at Noelker and Hull Associates.