Building Statistics

Building Name

Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center

Building Occupant

North Central College

Location and Site

Naperville, IL

Occupancy and Function Types

Concert hall, arts center, and education

Size (total square feet)

57,000 ft2

Number of stories above grade / Total levels

3 above grade, 1 partially below grade

Project Team


North Central College


Loebl Schlossman & Hackl

Landscape Architect

Hitchcock Design Group

Structural Engineer

Campbell & Associates

MEP and Fire Protection Engineer

WMA Consulting Engineers

Theater Planners / Lighting Designer

Schuler Shook

Acoustics & Audio Consultant


General Contractor


Construction Manager


Dates of Construction (start to finish)

[Inquired with architect] – September 2008

Actual Cost Information

$30.6m (total project cost)

Project Delivery Method

[Inquired with architect]


The project has a contemporary collegiate style, with an architectural precast concrete exterior and large curtain walls in atrium spaces. It is approximately 60 ft. tall, with an architectural aluminum cornice. Frequent use of wood paneling gives the interior a warm impression.

Project Codes

Building Enclosure

Building Facades

Curtain wall:

Insulating glass with structural glass fins for support. Mullions and frame are anodized metal.

Exterior walls:

Architectural precast concrete with semirefractory fiber board insulation and vapor retarder impaled onto precast. The interior is finished with gypsum board on cold formed metal framing.

Building Roof

Elastomeric EPDM membrane on tapered insulation.

Sustainability Features

Occupancy sensor lighting controls are used in the majority of small spaces, including faculty offices and practice rooms. The black box theater and concert hall’s mechanical systems are designed to reduce energy load when the spaces are not in active use. Underground tanks store storm water overflow to prevent sudden loads to the site’s drainage capacity.

Primary Engineering Systems


Being a fine arts center, lighting systems are a critical aspect of the experience. The font of house areas, including the lobby, the art gallery, and the concert hall, are lit primarily by incandescent and halogen lighting. These provide a smooth spectrum of light, giving good and consistent color rendition through all of the spaces.

Restrooms, classrooms, offices, storage areas, the computer lab, and all of the other spaces that aren’t likely to be a part of a visitor’s experience to the fine arts center. In these spaces, lamp life and source efficacy outweigh the concerns in more public areas, and predominantly fluorescent lighting is used. Fluorescent lamp types include 32W T8s, 31W U shaped T8s, 21W T5s, and 26W quad tube CFLs. A high pressure sodium lamp is used on the exterior at the loading dock.

Because of the nature of the facility, lighting controls are more complicated than what you’d see in a typical project. Two dimmer racks in the dimmer room are used by the concert hall lighting control system. Lighting in the public areas can be controlled by preset wall panels, with optional lockable covers. Smaller spaces, such as restrooms, offices, practice rooms, and storage, have occupancy sensors.


The power distribution system is laid out radially, a single point of entrance branching out through a small network panels before reaching the branch circuits. The utility serves the building at 480Y/120 volts through a pad mounted transformer outside the electrical room. From the main switchboard in the electrical room, large equipment (primarily HVAC) is served directly at 480 volts. Smaller loads (lighting, receptacles, and AV) are served through five smaller transformers throughout the building. All lighting loads are operated at 120V; there are no lights directly on the 480/277V system.

While the bulk of the electrical equipment is in the main electrical room and its neighboring emergency electrical room, the dimmer room on the first floor holds three of the five 120/277V transformers, as well as the two dimmer racks and several branch panelboards. One of these transformers (T1-DCTP-1) is an isolation transformer, serves the clean technical power system. Clean technical power is used for audio processing racks, amplifier racks, the control booth, and orange CTP receptacles throughout the concert hall’s back of house spaces. The CTP loads are connected to an isolated ground. An additional three dimmer racks serve the black box theater’s lighting. The remainder of the panelboards are housed in small electrical closets.


The building has eight RTUs, six constant air volume and two variable air volume. The CAV units serve the concert hall, stage, black box theater, main lobby, and black box lobby. The VAV units serve the first floor and the lower level. Ventilation in the concert hall is provided through vaults under the floor, divided by CMU walls to direct airflow and reduce noise. The ductwork beneath the concert hall is plastic coated and buried in a concrete enclosure. As a result, the concert hall is almost completely silent.

Electric cabinet heaters are used in the vestibules by the main entrances. A number of spaces, particularly offices and theater support along the exterior walls, also include electric baseboard heaters.


The structural system is a combination of structural steel and precast concrete. The load bearing precast wall runs around the entire concert hall area, up through the lower roof level. The wall behind the stage continues to the upper roof level. A smaller number of walls, directly adjacent to the concert hall, are load bearing CMU.

There isn’t an overall column and beam grid that extends through the whole building; instead, it reacts to the shapes of the spaces. This is especially in the concert hall, where beams wrap around the edge of the balcony, and are cantilevered out from the lower columns. The office corridor’s longest span is supported by a W18x75, while shorter spans are as small as W10x33.

Additional Engineering Systems

Fire Protection

The fire protection system is supplied by water entering the plumbing room on the north end of the building. The plumbing room contains the fire pump, as well as the fire pump control center and transfer switch to allow it to run on emergency power from the generator. The vast majority of sprinklerheads are recessed to preserve the architecturally clean spaces. The exception to this is areas without appropriately finished ceilings, including the black box theater.


There are two hydraulic elevators, one in the lobby for handicap access between the first floor and balcony level, and a second on the office corridor between the lower level and first floor. These floors are also accessible by stairs, with the main public stairs being between the lower black box theater lobby and main lobby, and at each end of the main lobby between the first floor and balcony level. There is also a stairway at each end of the office corridor, and back of house stairways into the balcony level reverb chambers, for access to the choral balcony. The catwalk level can be reached by a spiral staircase in the north reverb chamber.


Most of the facility is wired to the audiovisual system, at least to some degree. The back of house rooms (office, etc) on the lower level have ceiling speakers, as do the art gallery, main lobby restrooms, lobby balcony corridor, and others. The first floor of the lobby uses wall mounted speakers, due to the high ceiling.

The rehearsal room is outfitted with loudspeakers, a video projector, and a plug box for recording microphones. The concert hall includes several loudspeakers, and has plugboxes throughout the stage and catwalks with connections for microphones, tie lines, intercoms, speakers, video, data, and fiber. The main audio control center is at the back of the concert hall, on the first floor under the balcony.