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COLEMAN CREEK AMPHITHEATER


INTRODUCTION


COLEMAN CREEK AMPHITHEATER for the

University of Arkansas at Little Rock In mid-2009, Witsell Evans & Rasco, P.A. Architects/Planners, were invited by David Millay, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to a meeting of the Coleman Creek Greenway Committee to discuss the development of a concept for a “large gathering space” on the UALR campus. The location for the space was identified in the 2005 Campus Master Plan and is roughly an area bounded by Coleman Creek on the east, the Ottenheimer Library on the west, the Donaghey Student Center on the south, and the Fine Arts Building on the north. This area is considered the “core” of the UALR campus and current plans are to build a new Student Services Building here, and to remove some of the vehicular traffic and parking and replace it with a “University Green” providing a place for outdoor campus-wide gatherings. The gathering space could accommodate concerts, graduation exercises, picnics, performances, and just lounging as weather permits. Following the initial meeting, WER spent time with the Coleman Creek Greenway Committee developing the program for the gathering space, visiting the site, and eventually presenting three schemes for review and comment. All had a performance space and a place for an audience of up to 1000+ to gather. Schemes A & B were located completely west of Coleman Creek, and Scheme C “straddled” the creek with the performance space on the east bank and the audience on the west. The latter scheme was the one favored by the committee for further development. In November of that year, WER and the Coleman Creek Greenway Committee held a joint charette to discuss the future of the creek and the amphitheater. The site, previous site plans, and pictures of similar projects from other parts of the world all were part of the vigorous discussion. The group focused on a modified image of Scheme “C” specifically on the attributes of the stage. From this discussion developed a series of requirements for the design to accomodate: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Acoustics Flood Plain during high flow event The trail A weir Lighting and controls

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

100-150 person “formal” seating area Power and how to handle cables Materials: concrete?, Ipe wood?, fabric Orientation(s) of performance Weather issues (how to protect performers/equipment)

Also developed was a list of potential events/activities that the amphitheater would need to be able to support: 1. 2. 3.

Bands Speakers Plays

4. 5. 6.

Operas Weddings Movies

7. 8. 9.

Rallies Concert series Summer Youth Programs

10. 11.

Cheerleaders Classes


WER agreed to visit the River Market Amphitheater and make note of the various attributes of that facility and take measurements as a “benchmark” for our plans along Coleman Creek. The River Market stage is 64 feet by 64 feet with side stage areas extending 25 feet further in each direction. Total width is therefore about 120 feet. There is a fabric, tent-like canopy and steel framework for lights and rigging over the stage that begins about 24 feet above the concrete stage floor. There is a significant electrical load center to one side of the stage, but very little permanent lighting. A portion of the right rear of the stage serves as a loading dock, and the stage itself is elevated about 4 feet above its surroundings. There are two stairs on either side at the front and the rear, and there are 4 permanent, air-conditioned, dressing rooms housed in two nearby stand-alone buildings with toilets. There is parking for several large RV’s and access for 18-wheelers. Public toilets are also located discretely nearby. The audience is arranged in a semi-circle and there are two groups of permanent seating: the closest begins 50 feet from the front of the stage and has a capacity of about 400 (with wheel-chair spaces), and the second has a capacity of almost 1000 including additional wheel-chair spaces. Beyond that, seating is allowed on a gently sloping grassy area to the rear fence. There are two permanent locations for follow spotlights, and one permanent location for sound and light control. All such locations are connected by large diameter underground conduits suitable for pulling heavy electrical cables. The visit was useful to highlight details that had not yet been discussed by the group, like permanent toilets and dressing rooms, a loading dock, and RV parking. WER continued to develop concepts for the stage and further refine the seating areas. Those ideas were presented at the Coleman Creek Greenway Committee meeting that December , using a “fly-around” video. Following a discussion, the CCG Committee agreed to the following fundamental “design principles” for the project going forward:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

That the stage should be on the east side of the creek, and a permanent seating area for 200-300 people should be on the west side of the creek. That the site plan should be developed such that it was independent of whether or not the Campus Drives are closed or remain open. That the form should be of the 21st Century, not the past. That most of the materials should be natural and “of the creek”. That the stage would have a sheltering roof, but no permanent backdrop. That the dressing rooms, etc. should be somewhat out of sight and near a parking/loading area on the east side of the creek. That there should be a pedestrian bridge connecting the east side to the west.

A meeting was scheduled by David Millay with Chancellor Joel Anderson on February 5, 2010, to present the Coleman Creek Amphitheater for his review and comment. Chancellor Anderson included a few of his closest advisors in the meeting, and all reacted favorably to the presentation and were interested in obtaining a probable estimate of cost. Subsequently, Baldwin-Shell Construction Company assisted in that effort and a project budget of $2,400,000 was deemed adequate including fees, permits, and construction costs. A follow-up meeting was with the Chancellor’s Direct Report Group (DRG) who was enthusiastic about the ideas, and asked that we schedule a meeting with some of the potential “users” from the Department of Fine Arts. That meeting was held on March 24, and generated great approval of the concept. A final presentation was made to the Chancellor’s Leadership Group (CLG) on April 6, 2010, and was met with wide approval. Subsequently on April 21, David Millay received word from Marc Johnson, PE, that the preliminary hydraulic modeling of the proposed amphitheater should not significantly impact the upstream flood plain, a concern expressed in the early stages of design. Progress has continued slowly over the past few years, until early Spring 2013 when WER was asked to revisit the amphitheater design, so a more developed cost estimate could be generated. This document is intended share this amazing project with the Friends of UALR and public at large. It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we present herein our latest design for the Coleman Creek Amphitheater:


LOCATION


CAMPUS PLAN

In mid-2009, Terry Rasco, FAIA, and John Greer, AIA, principals at Witsell Evans & Rasco, P.A. Architects/Planners, were invited by David Millay, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to a meeting of the Coleman Creek Greenway Committee to discuss the development of a concept for a “large gathering space” on the UALR campus. The location for the space was identified in the 2005 Campus Master Plan and is roughly an area bounded by Coleman Creek on the east, the Ottenheimer Library on the west, the Donaghey Student Center on the south, and the Fine Arts Building on the north. This area is considered the “core” of the UALR campus and current plans are to build a new “One-Stop” Student Services Building here, and to remove some of the vehicular traffic and parking and replace it with a “University Green” providing a place for outdoor campus-wide gatherings. The gathering space could accommodate concerts, graduation exercises, picnics, performances, and just lounging as weather permits.

Phase 1


Phase 2

Phase 3


COLEMAN CREEK

When UALR was founded, Coleman Creek formed its Eastern border. Now it falls in the heart of the campus, with housing and parking on the East side, and the academic facilities on the West side. This firmly places the act of moving across the creek as an important part of every student’s day. It is easy to see with these changes, that the devlopment of Coleman Creek is integral to the success of UALR. Following the 2005 Masterplan a further study was done by the Ecological Design Group, in an attempt to envision what the development of Coleman Creek could look like. From this study plans were generated to create a park entrance at the Southern end of the UALR campus. A plan of the park is shown to the right, while the overall sketch of the campus is shown above.


SITE

In order to gain a better understanding of UALR and its unique constraints and challenges, WER took a series of field trips to gain firsthand experience of the campus and Coleman Creek. All were stuck by the beauty of interacting with and crossing the creek, and decided that whatever form the amphitheater project took, it would have to celebrate the creek and its role within campus life.


INSPIRATION


EAST RIVER


MILLENIUM PARK

SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK


MOVIES IN THE PARK

NON-EVENT DAY SYMPHONY CONCERT

RIVERFEST EVENTS

POPS IN THE PARK


RIVERFRONT AMPHITHEATER


INVESTIGATION


LOCATIONS LOCATIONS A

There are several locations along Coleman Creek that would be appropriate for the future amphitheater. This report will highlight 3 different sites along the creek:

B

A

C

B C

The first location is adjacent to the intersection of 32nd Street and Campus Drive. The second location is in axis with the Commons building and the future Trojan Grill. The third location in near the location of the existing pedestrian bridge and amphitheater.

Campus Map


B

C

A

Preliminary Site Options


LOCATION A

The first location is adjacent to the intersection of 32nd Street and Campus Drive.

View from West Campus Drive


+

HEART OF CAMPUS

+

HIGH VISIBILITY

+ -

SAFER BRIDGE FOR STUDENTS SURROUNDED BY DANGEROUS TRAFFIC TRAFFIC NOISE BACKDROP IS A PARKING LOT


LOCATION

B

The second location is in axis with the Commons building and the future Trojan Grill.

View from East Campus Drive


+

HEART OF CAMPUS

+

BACKDROP OF TREE CANOPY

+

NEW BRIDGE FOR STUDENTS

+ -

CONNECTION TO COMMONS PROXIMITY TO CURRENT BUS STOP TRAFFIC NOISE


LOCATION

C

The third location in near the location of the existing pedestrian bridge and amphitheater.

View from West Campus Drive


+ + + + -

HIGH VISIBILTY WITH LESS TRAFFIC LESS TRAFFIC IN AREA BACKDROP OF TREE CANOPY CONNECTS HOUSING TO NORTH END OF CAMPUS REPLACES EXISTING BRIDGE AND AMPTHIEATER


SOLUTION


LOCATIONS THE VISION Location “C� was selected as the best possible setting for the Amphitheater with its scenic creekbed, and proximity to Student Housing, parking, and campus classroom buildings. Additionally, this area of the creek was wide enough to allow seating for up to 300 people.


7

4

A1

B

6

1 COLEMAN CREEK 2 NEW 12’ WIDE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE 3 STAGE + DRESSING AREA 4 AMPHITHEATER SEATING FOR ~300

2

C 3 5

8 5 PERVIOUS PAVING PLAZA 6 COLEMAN CREEK TRAIL 7 CONNECTION TO FINE ARTS BUILDING 8 CONNECTION TO UNIVERSITY HOUSING


MATERIALS


Wood Boards

Polycarbonate Panels

Metal Decking

Modular Green Roof

Gabion Walls

Native Plants and Grasses


COLEMAN CREEK AMPHITHEATER

Coleman Creek Amphitheater at UALR  

Conceptual Design Maunal for the 300 seat Coleman Creek Amphitheater on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as designed...

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