Ridgewood High School Performing Arts Theater

A Transformation

Ridgewood High School has made becoming a green, sustainable, and energy efficient campus a priority. The school has taken many steps to improve the energy efficiency of the building’s systems and to update the fifty-year-old facility to meet the demands of a 21st century comprehensive high school educational program.
A showpiece for the school is renovating the 50-year-old, 800 seat, technologically antiquated Auditorium into an intimate 430 seat performance venue design that utilizes energy efficient LED and theatrical house lighting. When completed, the Performing Arts Theater will be one of the first High School Auditorium Designs in Illinois to use all LED theatrical lights.

Drawing a Crowd

Ridgewood’s Performing Arts Theater attracts a wide audience from the surrounding communities. Ridgewood High School will have the first all-LED illuminated performing arts center in the State of Illinois. The Auditorium is the largest meeting-type space in the community and is used heavily by community groups such as the library, park district and villages as well as for dance recitals and concerts by students and other community groups. The new auditorium design will meet the needs of all these agencies as well as providing a learning space for drama and music students.

The Future of Stage Lighting

The existing light fixtures in the auditorium and lobby were a combination of tungsten-halogen, mercury vapor and incandescent. The entire auditorium and lobby are being re-built and upgraded to bring the facility into the 21st century.
The light sources within the lobby and the auditorium will be LED, including the theatrical lighting. LED lighting reduces wattage, reduces maintenance, reduces HVAC load, and ultimately reduces life cycle cost. The auditorium house will also be used for academic purposes, such as administering examinations, and the LED house lighting provides appropriate light levels for this purpose as well.
Changing color on the old tungsten-halogen, mercury vapor and incandescent instruments required lowering those instruments to working height, or maneuvering around on a 50 year old, catwalk system that was not designed for student use, to switch out one or more color gel frames, which had to be prepared previously. That process took a fair amount of time and made it impossible to create varied color effects in mid-production. The end users of the auditorium will be able to easily change the LED colors at a touch of a button rather than getting up on a catwalk to swap out gels. Learning how to use the LED theatrical fixtures will provide the students with a cutting edge theatrical lighting design education.

Auditorium Lighting Design to yield energy savings up to 64%

Replacing the individual stage lights with long-lived LEDs reduces maintenance costs, reduces the load on the air conditioning system and makes the conditions more comfortable for performers on stage. The old lights would cook the people on stage; with today’s LEDs, there will be no appreciable heat gain when performing.
Using traditional tungsten halogen lamps for the proposed theatrical lighting and metal halide for the follow spots, the total load would be 46,749 watts (47.8KW).
Using LED/SSL luminaries and metal halide for the follow spots, the total load will be 16,924 watts (16.9KW). This represents a load reduction of 30.9KW, or 64% lower than a traditional design.
The auditorium is a great educational tool for Ridgewood High School to show their community that energy efficient lighting can be both functional and beautiful while saving money and energy. Before each performance, there will be a brief demonstration of the lighting systems to show the capabilities and benefits of LED/SSL. Besides slashing energy costs, using LED theatrical lights gives student crew and performers lighting quality and options they haven’t had in the past.

Federal Aviation Administration awards Ridgewood High School District 234 largest airport noise mitigation grant in Illinois history

DLA Architects Ltd. played a significant role in the grant application process, in conjunction with the District Administration, which culminated in the School receiving the largest airport noise mitigation grant in Illinois history.
The entire school is being treated for noise reduction through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration due to its proximity to O’Hare Airport. The grant totals $28,000,000 and the project is viewed as a showpiece of the School Sound Insulation Program. Roof replacement, structural improvements, HVAC, and other acoustic improvements in the Auditorium to reduce infiltration by airplane noise are included in the renovation project.
The project has also qualified for two grants from DCEO for innovative design, one for the use of LED lights in the auditorium house and another for the use of LEDs for the theatrical lighting.

Examples of other projects at the Ridgewood High School campus include:

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