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asu schaefer cneter for the performing arts

project story

Constructed in the 1970’s, The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts (previously Farthing Auditorium) has served Appalachian State University and the region well through the years. The auditorium seats 1134 on the main floor and 609 in the single balcony for a total of 1743 seats. The auditorium is used for a wide range of performance types and supports performances presented by various ASU departments as well as an ongoing series of local and touring presentations but was in need of an update to bring it into compliance with modern standards for accessibility, audience comfort, acoustics and performance.

ASU hired a CJMW Architecture-led team to conduct a study. The team evaluated the building including public spaces, auditorium, orchestra and stage areas, back-of-house areas, and performance systems including A/V systems, lighting, and theater rigging. Major focus was placed on acoustics and noise control options. CJMW Architecture identified and prioritized appropriate improvements that could be implemented in a series of phases. The study included schematic design and preliminary cost estimates for three options.

After selecting a preferred option, ASU hired CJMW to implement a a limited scope of work, primarily aimed at improving the audience experience. Reconfigured seating improved sight lines; a state-of-the-art orchestra shell and other changes improved the acoustics. The hall interior has new finishes, as do the public spaces. Now complete, The Schaefer Center’s grand opening kicked off the year’s annual An Appalachian Summer Festival.


Location: Boone, North Carolina
Square footage: 43,700
Services: architecture, interior design, ffe