QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
People have been very curious about the MPAC project, and many have asked questions regarding various aspects of the design and mission. Here, we do our best to answer those questions, and if you have a query not answered on this page, click here and send it to us that we may include it.
Why the name MPAC? MPAC is an acronym for Meigs Performing Arts Center. It has since been expanded to stand for Meigs Performing Arts and Community Center. We felt no need to add the extra “A” and “C” to the acronym and logo as it just becomes a more cumbersome form without really changing the pronunciation. MPAC is a popular moniker for performing arts centers across the nation and beyond, if you’re fortunate enough to have a name that starts with an “M”. It actually spells a word that’s easy to pronounce and remember, and has the added bonus of sounding like the word “impact” which is what we hope to make on the future development of Meigs County.
Is this a movie theater (cinema)? MPAC is not a cinema. Though it will be equipped with the necessary hi-tech devices (projection apparatuses and screens) to show movies on occasion, its primary purpose is for staging live performances.
Where will this building be located? Currently, MPAC has not acquired a site for the facility. It is hoped that it can be located somewhere in the vicinity of the Routes 33 & 7 interchange. Since MPAC is to serve all of Meigs County as well as the greater surrounding region, this central location with good visibility and highway access from all directions seems the logical choice for greatest efficiency and impact.
Is MPAC affiliated with the Meigs High School? No. MPAC is a totally autonomous entity. However, when operational, the MPAC facility will be equipped to support the development of several Ohio Department of Education accredited Career Technical Education (CTE) courses related to the performing arts. In the future, if all involved parties are amenable and the resources are available, the MPAC facility may become the site for such instruction available to all Meigs County CTE high school students.
Why a theater? The more appropriate question is: “Why not a theater?” For decades, Meigs County has supported a vibrant performing arts scene, but unfortunately, it has (for more than a century) lacked an appropriate space dedicated to and designed specifically for conducting these activities. This creates an ongoing burden and hardship on the producers to even mount such stage performances. As an analogy, imagine trying to hold regularly scheduled football games on temporary lots that change from week to week; it’s simply unsustainable. MPAC not only will provide a permanent home for such entertainment and cultural activities, it will advance and invigorate the performing arts because so much more time can be spent on the creative aspects of performance rather than the nuts and bolts of finding and preparing ill-suited venues.
How does a theater help Meigs County? A facility such as MPAC helps Meigs County in many ways – some not quite as evident as others. Understandably, many people are interested in the economic impact. Rearranging the monetary deck chairs within Meigs County is just fine, but it doesn’t increase the overall size of the economic pie. MPAC creates a “destination” for those who live outside the county. The influx of their spending has a ripple/multiplier effect throughout the county, and studies have shown that audience members from outside the area spend more than twice as much, on average, than the local participant (excluding the cost of admission). They have a greater tendency to dine out, shop, buy gas, spend the night, buy souvenirs, etc. And if they have a pleasant experience, they’ll be back to do it again and again as well as pass the word to their friends.
MPAC also has job creation potential. Aside from the initial construction jobs, if the anticipated goal of ongoing and regular usage of the facility is met, certain full-time and several part-time positions will be available including a volunteer force. Job descriptions and titles aside, there must be management on a day-to-day basis, continued fundraising, and coordination of events and technical direction. There will be general maintenance, janitorial, and grounds-keeping duties. The box office will be manned on a published schedule, and crews must be available for private and public events. MPAC can only improve the employment potential within the county.
Participation in the arts, especially the performing arts, enhances peoples’ lives. Artistic and cultural experiences that entertain, educate, provoke, and inspire provide outlets for creative expression and volunteer efforts that enhance a rural areas’ image and quality of life while strengthening the community as a whole. In addition, the vibrancy of a performing arts scene is an important factor in the decision making process when people consider relocating to a specific area.
MPAC will also have the potential to improve the future employment prospects of the county’s youth. The facility will be equipped to provide instruction in many Career Technical Education (CTE) programs associated with the performing arts and related sciences such as: Musical Theater, Acting Performance, Stagecraft (all the technical aspects of theater), Audio Production, Video Production, Stage Design & Construction, Audio/Video Broadcast, Advertising & Communication to name a few. Classes like these (all Ohio Dept. of Ed. accredited) will prepare students for continuing higher education or entry directly into the job market. Other benefits of arts training include improved cognitive development in younger students, higher SAT scores, double the likelihood of low-income students earning a bachelor’s degree, improved academic performance and lower dropout rates.
How big is this building? According to the preliminary design specifications, it will be approximately 40,000 sq.ft. This includes a high-ceilinged main floor, a partial 2nd floor and the civic meeting space addition. The current floor plans describe a building with a footprint of 250 ft. long by 100 ft. wide. To help visualize, that’s the approximate area of half a football field (150’ x 160’). At first glance, that may seem large, but compared to similar multi-use facilities, it’s relatively small.
Why not just use an already existing building? Such facilities that were designed specifically for the presentation of the performing arts (opera houses) long ago disappeared from Meigs County. Were they still in existence, they would be sorely inadequate and ineffective in so many aspects for today's (and tomorrow's) state-of-the-art performances and audience needs. Refitting an already existing structure (if there was one) in a suitable location (if there was one) to the standards required of a fully operational, modern, working theater and its support infrastructure (parking, lobby, restrooms, etc.) would entail such prohibitive cost and time restrictions that it behooves us to start from scratch and design and build a proper facility the first time. Of course, this debate is rendered moot by the reality that there is no existing suitable building in a suitable location.
Think of a theater as you would a hospital. Sure, it’s a building like many others, but it houses facilities and equipment for a very particular set of purposes. A theater requires a great deal of consideration be given to certain aspects of the design and construction processes such as very low-noise HVAC, silent lighting fixtures, acoustical design, electrical capacity and distribution, and adequate trenching and conduit to accommodate the miles of signal cabling and/or optical fiber required to interface all the specialized equipment.
How much will the facility cost? It’s too early in the process to have exact or even reliably accurate cost figures, though the current business plan includes best estimations based upon current industry standards. Some aspects of the facility have been priced out, such as sound, lighting, and stage draping (curtains), but actual, total costs will have to wait until architectural, engineering, and site costs and development plans have been finalized. Suffice it to say, preliminary cost estimates run into the multimillions.
How will you raise such large amounts? The MPAC Foundation is seeking funds from many and varied sources including, but not limited to: donations, fundraising events, community foundations, corporations, capital budget funding, corporate foundations, family foundations, legacy donations, public sector grants, charitable trusts, bequests, governmental and non-governmental grants and financial aid, arts-associated foundations, federal, state & local assistance, philanthropic giving, partnering with area businesses and/or banks, special projects, etc.
How long will it take? The MPAC Foundation is in for the long haul, and we fully expect this to be a multi-year endeavor. Unless some as yet undiscovered theater “angel” graciously funds the project, we’ll be in fundraising mode for some time. Many regional theater renovation projects have been decades-long undertakings, and a mission the size and scope of MPAC will certainly present a daunting challenge. As one of our mantras states, “If we do not try, we most certainly will achieve nothing.”
Will there be a tax levy to pay for this? No. MPAC is seeking funding from myriad sources, none of which includes a local tax levy; the fact not withstanding that a levy would almost certainly fail.
What do you mean by a “Broadway style” theater? To be honest, we’ve added the phrase “Broadway style” to help differentiate between the words “theater” (generally a live performance venue) and “cinema” (a movie house). In our efforts to inform the public of the MPAC project, some have asked if it is a “movie theater” (cinema). Everyone knows that Broadway does live theater, so we hope the addition answers that question at a glance.
Why is the civic event space included in the theater designs? As part of the feasibility studies for the project, we spoke with venue coordinators in surrounding counties and they promoted the idea to the MPAC team. Apparently, perspective clients are being turned away from certain venues because of capacity restraints for events like wedding receptions, conferences, etc. An easily accessible venue of decent capacity with hi-tech presentation capabilities could be a regular source of revenue to enhance the sustainability of the entire complex and a boon to the local economy.
What is LEED? Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings that aim to help owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. LEED provides a point system to score green building design and construction. The system is categorized in five basic areas: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. LEED utilizes the use of green roofs/roof gardens, solar panels, rain water harvesting and recycling, energy efficiency, indoor environmental comfort and environmentally friendly building materials among other methods. In the environmentally conscious world of today – and tomorrow – seeking LEED Certification (when possible) only seems prudent.
In the rendering there are trees and plants on part of the roof – what’s that about? It is becoming more and more practical to incorporate “green” spaces into the construction of new buildings that can accommodate such things. In seeking LEED Certification, and in just being more environmentally sound, the use of a green roof with rain water retrieval and filtering and the placement of solar panels for energy efficiency are good practice in today’s world. Besides, the green roof makes a beautiful addition to the civic event spaces, and will be the perfect setting for any number of social events.
What is meant by “theater specific design considerations”? In regards to HVAC, lighting, and acoustical design, a theater is a very unique type of building with specific design qualities not usually found in your typical structure. You simply don’t hang some lights, set up a sound system, put in some seats, and think you have a proper, functioning theater. The HVAC for the auditorium and stage is designed for very low-noise operation so as not to create audible (or visible) disruption when kicking on or off. The ambient lighting for the auditorium and stage is comprised of silent lighting fixtures (no ballasts) that create audible hum and electromagnetic interference for the sound system. The auditorium is designed for aural optimization for both acoustic and sound reinforced performances with such things as non-opposable walls to decrease the incidence of standing waves, sound dampening materials on the wall surfaces, and (if necessary) “sound eating” structures to dampen problem frequencies.
What is ADA compliant? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, enacted in 1990) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. It guarantees equal opportunity and access for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The design of MPAC incorporates many ADA compliant features including: an elevator, low or nonexistent door thresholds, wheelchair spaces dispersed throughout the auditorium, ramps where needed, lower sections incorporated into countertops, wheelchair accessible restroom facilities, lowboy tabling in the lobby, lower water fountains, etc. We firmly believe that our disabled friends and family members be afforded the same opportunity to enjoy the theater, special events and learning experiences that MPAC will provide for all.
Will the schools be able to use this facility? Yes. In fact, all the local schools will be encouraged to take advantage of the special facilities offered at MPAC. Whether for theatrical presentations, band concerts, meeting or conference space, the development of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, banquets, or myriad other purposes, MPAC will be available as a well-equipped and comfortable choice.
How much will it cost to rent the facility? Rental fee structures are currently in the development stage, but it will vary dependent upon the nature of the rental in regards to size, which facility, duration, particular needs, for profit or nonprofit, educational purposes, market factors, etc. MPAC will be operated as a nonprofit concern (we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization), so our main goal is to raise sufficient funds to sustain the operation of the facility for the furtherance of the MPAC mission, not (for example) to disperse profits to shareholders.
The following Q & A make reference to the Floor Plan on the "VISION" page of the website.
The Floor Plan states “based on a 20” seat pan”, what does that mean? The seat pan is the part of the theater seat that the audience member’s derriere (bottom, politely) sits upon – not the seat back or armrests. The width of the seat pan (along with the amount of legroom) is the greatest factor in determining an individuals’ comfort. It’s no secret that today’s audience member is larger (on average) than one from the 19th or early 20th century. In fact, we’re larger than those from the 1950s or even the ’70s, and seat pan width should reflect that reality. As audience comfort is so important in determining return frequency, we at MPAC are putting a great deal of thought into the seats and their arrangement. A 20” seat pan is a pretty good size seat (22” and 24” seats are not uncommon in new theaters), but if further consideration warrants a wider seat pan, we’ll sacrifice some seating capacity for audience comfort. After all, bringing audiences into the auditorium (again and again) is the raison d'être of a theater.
On the Floor Plan, red triangles indicate “Area of Rescue” – what is that? The “Areas of Rescue” or “Areas of Refuge Assistance" concept was established to provide a location for building occupants, who cannot traverse the stairs without assistance, to be able to assemble by an exit and await assistance or instructions by the first responders during cases of emergency such as fire, etc. This reflects new code requirements, especially for multi-floor buildings.
To the left of the stage on the Floor Plan it says “Fly System Control” – what is that? A fly system, or theatrical rigging system, is a system of rope lines, blocks (pulleys), counterweights and related devices within a theater that enables a stage crew to fly (hoist) quickly, quietly and safely components such as curtains, lights, scenery, stage effects and, sometimes, people. The control for such a system is located offstage in the wings and consists of a fly rail, arbor, pin rail, etc. It is not unusual for a theater’s fly tower to extend above the roofline to accommodate this function.
What do you mean by “Catering Kitchen”? A catering kitchen is designed primarily as a staging and prep area for food service, with spaces for warming carts, tables, and coolers/freezers. It does not (generally) have commercial appliances (which require a hood or fire suppression and extinguishing systems) for cooking the meal on site, but rather are for holding and final preparation of meals that have been brought in from off-site kitchens. The catering kitchen is used to serve food to a large number of guests quickly and efficiently. It may be well stocked with small appliances, serving utensils and place settings for large numbers; some may have dishwashers. The area would also usually provide beverage dispensing, such as air voids for hot and cold liquids.
What is a “Dimmer Room”? Theatrical lighting fixtures, especially those that are not digital, do not have a self-contained power source. They are powered by “dimmers” that allow changing the intensity of the lamp, and are located away from the lighting instrument. Large numbers of dimmers (one for each light) are mounted in racks, and the racks can be located any number of places backstage including in a dedicated room designed for that purpose. The dimmers (and thus, the lights) are controlled remotely from a lighting mixing console or computer located in the lighting booth (#9) at the rear of the auditorium.
What is the purpose of the “Catwalk”? The catwalk, which may or may not be visible to the audience, is located at or above the ceiling of the auditorium and provides access to the many lights and other equipment used during performances. Additional catwalks and/or metal “grid’ works are also located above the stage.
What is the purpose of the “Overhead Rolling Security Gates” (#40) and the “Isolation Doors” (#39)? Not all parts of the facility may be in use at the same time. For instance, attendees of a wedding reception in the civic event space need not have access to the theater portion of the building, and vice versa. Locked doors, restrictive signage and rope lines also aid in this purpose.
What is a “Cry Room”? We’ve all been in a theater situation when someone’s baby begins to cry. To help the unfortunate parent and the audience as well, there are cry rooms located at the rear of the theater. These rooms are equipped with windows, speakers, and chairs so that the performance can still be enjoyed while the child is being comforted. It’s another amenity that enhances the overall theater experience.
What is a “Green Room” (#23)? The green room (etymology unknown) is a room – more specifically a lounge – located back stage where actors and other performers can hang out (before, during and after shows) when they are not needed onstage or in their dressing rooms. They can range from rather spartan to well equipped (refrigerator, microwave, etc.)
Why are there “Offices” (D) on 2nd Floor and (#2) on Main Floor? The office (#2) on the main floor is part of the Box Office, and it will contain all necessary office equipment (i.e. computers, phones) to conduct regular box office duties: dispensing information, ticket sales, seating assignments, etc. The two offices (D) on the 2nd floor are in anticipation of the facilities full functionality when positions such as Executive Director and Technical Director become necessary.
What is the “FOH Sound Booth” (#10)? In the performing arts, front of house (FOH) is the part of a performance venue that is open to the public. In theaters and live music venues, it consists of the auditorium and lobby, as opposed to the stage and backstage areas. Sound operators are typically positioned in a small sectioned-off area (booth) in the front-of-house, surrounded by the audience or at the rear edge of the audience area. From this position they have unobstructed listening and a clear view of the performance, enabling the operation of the main speaker system by mixing consoles and other equipment. The (FOH) engineer controls what the audience hears during a live performance, and his or her primary concern is to ensure superior sound quality within the venue.
Why are some of the rooms labeled “Class Room” or “Class Space” (E, F & N)? The designation is in reference to the facility’s anticipated use for Career Technical Education (CTE) purposes. These specialized rooms will be fully outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment designed for instruction in a number of performing arts related sciences.
What’s the purpose of the “Workshop” (#17)? The workshop (or scene shop), is easily one of the most important and busiest spaces in a theater’s backstage. It’s equipped for constructing the sets and many of the props used on stage. It also serves as a holding area for large set pieces that must be moved on or off stage through the large double doors located between the workshop and the wings (#14). It provides the main load in garage door for easy access to the stage, and is often used for storage so that set pieces can be repurposed again and again.
Why a seating capacity of 452 – why not 200 or 1,000? A great deal of thought has been given to seating capacity. Based upon actual attendance numbers from past performances by the local community theater and the Meigs High School Drama Club, it was determined that 4 to 5 hundred is a realistic upper limit for any well-attended single performance. Average attendance fell more within the 200 to 250 range. Assuming that total capacity would be split more or less equally between the main floor and the balcony and that the balcony would remain closed unless needed for overflow or to meet advance ticket sales, a capacity of 452 fell well within the parameters set by real world experience and logic. Of course, this a preliminary number and it will most likely change before all is said and done, but the total seating capacity will remain in this ballpark. More popular shows that create greater audience demand can be booked for multiple performances.