Dallas High School Adds Performing Arts Complex

A 1,000-seat auditorium featuring an expanded stage and state-of-the-art acoustic system is a focal point of Melissa High School's new complex. 

Located in the suburbs of Dallas, TX, Melissa High School provides creative opportunities for its students to exercise their ingenuity as performers. Recognizing the importance and growing popularity of fine arts programs such as band, choir, and theater, as well as the potential to host events such as University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions, the school recently underwent a dramatic renovation and expansion that included the addition of a 65,000-square-foot performing arts complex.

Melissa High School
(Photo: Melissa High School)

Melissa High School’s performing arts complex includes a lobby, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, halls for making live recordings, scene shops, and backstage areas to support productions. At the center of the complex is a new 1,000-seat auditorium featuring an expanded stage and state-of-the-art acoustic system engineered by Minneapolis-based Staging Concepts. Working with theater consultant Schuler Shook, Staging Concepts custom-designed an acoustically flexible, multipurpose facility to support the school’s varied visual, musical, and theatrical productions.

To ensure optimal acoustics, Staging Concepts engineered a fully customizable system using its Bravado® Acoustical Shell. Suited for use in larger performance spaces, the full-stage system features aluminum alloy towers comprised of movable panel wings that lock into place. The system at Melissa High School includes four shell towers and three rows of acoustical ceiling panels with integrated lighting.

The system can be customized and reconfigured for different events and activities. For example, the school’s graduation ceremony may call for a comprehensive set-up of the full shell system, whereas preparation for a student play might involve slight modifications to adjust the system’s scope and scale.

In addition, the lightweight design of the towers makes transporting and storing them easy and efficient. The overhead ceiling panels feature a motorized operation mechanism for effortless transition from performance position to storage mode.

“We designed this system to be adjustable and portable knowing student crew members would likely be involved in the process,” said Cindy Albrecht, director of sales and marketing for Staging Concepts. “The modular components also allow schools to optimize the usability of their performing arts spaces by swiftly rearranging to meet the needs of different types of functions, from band practices and choral concerts to seasonal plays and solo performances.”

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Staging Concepts also developed a custom stage extension for the facility, pairing its SC90® platforms with specially designed front fascia panels. Ten platform sections, each with its own custom size and shape, were engineered to seamlessly fit with the theater’s existing stage footprint and present an appealing convex front profile. Fascia panels along the proscenium were specially designed with a perforated pattern to conceal equipment stored beneath the stage from view, creating a clean, ornamental look while effectively maximizing space. In keeping with the flexible design theme, the fascia panels can be easily removed for quick access to equipment when needed.

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