The Functional Facility
Our community in Lawrence is greatly enriched by many organizations, events and activities throughout the year. Many community enriching groups however, do not have a permanent home for their activities and are forced to move around and compete with other groups for time in facilities that do not adequately meet their needs.
Functional like-minded facilities have been very successful in other communities and draw folks from surrounding cities and, in some cases, other states. Examples of resources and successful organizations can be found by clicking here. Primary examples are Folklore Village, Tapestry Folkdance Center, and the Boulder Dance Coalition. The unique function of the folklife center would compliment our community’s commitment to the arts.
Primary requirements for this facility include having a proper wooden dance floor, multiple functional spaces, reasonable use fees (for individuals and groups) and to be centrally located. The ultimate facility goals are listed below but may be modified depending on needs and circumstances (photo examples are included under some topics). Possibilities include renovating an existing structure, starting from scratch, and starting with one component and adding more later. Facility suggestions are welcome.
At the bottom of this page is a comparison of local and national activity spaces, dimensions and accessory spaces.
1) A large floor space (50×70′, 3500 sq ft minimum) with a stage would be needed to accommodate the needs of larger groups. This or other rooms should be designed to handle small music concerts.
2) Two smaller soundproofed studio spaces (30 x 40′, 1200 sq ft and 25×20′, 500 sq ft) would potentially meet the activity needs of smaller groups or a larger workshop event.
3) Four smaller soundproofed workshop rooms (10×15′) can provide additional teaching spaces. (all of the additional spaces allow for flexibility, the option of having more than one activity happening at the same time or to meet the needs for a larger event)
4) A sprung wooden floor is essential in spaces used for community dancing.
5) A central Lawrence location is desirable.
6) An energy efficient & low maintenance building design is essential to ease the impact on our natural resources and to save money in the long run.
7) A high quality built-in amplified sound system is an essential element to enhance the sound quality of the largest activity space. This eliminates time consuming equipment set up.
8) A covered but open-sided outdoor pavilion for dancing and meeting space during the warmer months would not be essential but would enhance the overall experience. This could exist in a satellite location.
9) A fully functional kitchen is essential for event meal preparation.
10) A model vegetable garden and a variety of fruit trees would be planted on the grounds, demonstrating urban agriculture possibilities.
11) All activity spaces would be designed with good acoustical properties in mind (eliminating the echo chamber & muddy sound heard in school gymnasiums). A good sound space is essential for music concerts, amplified or not.
12) All spaces would be designed to be warm and welcoming, using real wood flooring, trim, etc. The ideal ambiance also includes the use of lighting that is not harsh on the eyes.
13) Some of the space could be used for educational displays (artifacts, photos, textiles, artifacts, etc). It could function as a small folklife/folk art gallery and museum. A library could house documents, books, photos and recordings.
Comparison of a select number of venue spaces
The square footage, capacity and accessory spaces are indicated for successful facilities outside our community as well as several local venues.
Folklore Village (Dodgeville, WI): Main activity building is 5500 sq ft. It contains a kitchen, balcony and a main floor dance space, 35×40’ or 1400 sq ft (capacity 100). The basement has 6 activity rooms. The grounds also contain an old one room school house, a restored country church and a farm house. A very functional facility for folklife activity.
Tapestry (Minneapolis, MN): The large dance studio is 4000 sq ft (capacity 266). There is also a small studio, 1400 sq ft (capacity 119), ad a kitchen/commons area. A very functional facility for folklife activity.
Avalon Ballroom (Boulder, CO) – The large activity space is ~5300 sq ft or 73×72 and a stage ~950 sq ft or 43×22’ (capacity 393). A studio space 913 sq ft (capacity 61), a dance space of 2700 sq ft (capacity 180), a lobby space of 920 sq ft (capacity 60) and some office space. A very functional facility for folklife activity.
Auld Pavilion (Lincoln, NE): The main ballroom floor is 65×48’ or 3120 sq ft. The north (porch) is 65×13’ or 845 sq ft. The stage is 27×14’. (capacity 250) A very functional facility.
Turnhalle (Lawrence): Main hall 35.5 x 40 feet or 1420 sq ft. Total building space is roughly 6590 sq ft. Spaces include a stage/back room area 23×37’, large basement area 35×39 or 1365 sq ft, and three small rooms. Needs a major remodel.
Old Community Theater (Lawrence): Total building space is ~9000 sq ft. Main floor space is 44×51’ 2244 sq ft, also a balcony and small stage. 7 rooms in the basement, 4 rooms on second floor above the stage. Currently not available.
NY Elementary School gymnasium (Lawrence): It is 50×90’ or 4500 sq ft. There is a new reception area.
Woodlawn school gymnasium (Lawrence): It is 50×90’ or 4500 sq ft. Has a stage.
White School (Lawrence): The main floor is 25×40’ or , (capacity 100). There is also a basement space.
Unitarian Fellowship (Lawrence): Founders hall, kitchen and dining area – (waiting for dimensions)
Senior Center (Lawrence): The upstairs activity room is ~45 x 60’ (capacity 316). room.
Carnegie Building (Lawrence): The main room is 30×71’ or 2189 sq ft (capacity 160). The east gallery room is 26×23’ (capacity 48) and a basement conference room 27×23’, 621 sq ft. (capacity 35). The basement conference room is 27×23’ or 621 sq feet (capacity 35).
Lied Center – the Pavilion (Lawrence): 2400 sq ft (capacity 200)
Stony Point barn (Douglas County, KS): It is 40×60’ or 2400 sq ft.
Some of the varieties of groups and activities that can benefit from the use the facility
1) Community dance groups, large and small
2) Folk and other music concerts (the music volume will not be loud but maintained at a pleasant level)
3) Small community festivals
4) Music and/or dance workshops
5) Music and/or dance instruction space
6) Teaching space for teachers and students (small and larger groups).
7) A space that can also be used and rented as a meeting space, reception space, etc.
8) Additional ideas and suggestions are welcome.