Close to curtains up for Schrott Center

After two years of construction and over a decade of concept, the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Performing and Visual Arts is slated for an official opening on April 18.
Construction of the center itself is complete, and facilities and operations are now focusing on delivering the final touches to the building before opening it to the public.
“We got the certificate of occupancy a couple of weeks ago, so from the city’s standpoint it’s finished,” said Rich Michal, executive director of facilities. “We’re spending this time now to do acoustical tuning to make sure that not only does it operate from a functional standpoint but from a performance standpoint as well.”
Jordan College of the Arts took possession of the Schrott Center last week with the goal of conducting final acoustical tuning of the theater by the end of February. That would be followed by a series of performances in March to test out the performance space.
“It’s kind of like kicking the tires of a new car,” said Francie Cohen, Schrott Center operations manager. “We’ll be testing the hall out, testing our policies and procedures and seeing how everything flows.
“We will have all of the ensemble groups from JCA music, theater and dance come over to perform for the acoustician so he can tune the hall just right.”
As the last of JCA’s performing arts complexes—following the construction of the Lilly Hall annex and the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall—the Schrott Center was created with the intent to provide a functional academic workspace for JCA students.
“As we’ve gone through the design, we’ve always had to give and take a little bit,” said Senior Project Manager Craig Hardee. “JCA said, ‘The stage is our classroom,’ so the one thing JCA was not going to give on was the stage.”
The center also fills a key occupancy gap between smaller performances in Lilly and Eidson-Duckwall and massive ones in Clowes Memorial Hall.
Michal said the center allows for more intimacy with smaller acts that may not be able to fill up Clowes, which means fewer empty seats and better general performances overall.
“The seating capacity is 450 versus 2,200 in Clowes,” Hardee said. “The seats are right on top of the stage, so the performers will be very intimately related to the folks down in the audience.”
The 450-seat capacity allows for a lot of flexibility and variety in regards to performances on campus, and the functionality of a classroom stage allows for JCA students to further develop their crafts, Hardee said.
“It’s not just a performance venue but a teaching venue,” Michal said. “There isn’t a bad seat in the house, and it’s going to be such an incredible, intimate facility.”