User Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work-in-progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Erin Miller. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.






General Information

Note: At the request of the owner, names and numbers have been altered to protect the privacy of the project.

Building Name: The Auditorium

Location: Lemma, Minnesota

Building Occupant Name: Francis Michael Performing Arts Academy (FMPAA)

Occupancy: Mixed Use Non-Separated

Primary Occupancy: A-1 Assembly

Secondary Occupancy: Group A-2 Group, Group A-3 Assembly, Group B Business

Size: 172,000 SF

Number of stories above grade: 5

Project Team: The project team is being withheld at the request of the building owner

Schedule: February 2011 (Demo Drawings Issued) → February 2014 (Substantial Completion) → April 2014 (Building Opening)

Cost: $75 Million Construction Cost (excluding soft cost)

Project Delivery Method: Design - Bid - Build, GMP issued during Design Development.  


Program: As an underutilized auditorium, the Francis Michael Performing Arts Academy (FMPAA) decided to retrofit The Auditorium to fit its growing needs.  Along with redesigning the large performance theater space, a new reception hall and side wings were redesigned to incorporate more office and classroom spaces.  Less than ideal acoustics for all performance types have kept The Auditorium from being used to its full potential.  To remedy some of the acoustical challenges, the seating capacity was reduced from 5,000 to 2,500.  Previous to this renovation, there were no permanent tenants using the space, with the exception of sporadic performances throughout the year. After completion the Academy Honors Program will reside in The Auditorium.

Historical Data:  The Auditorium was completed in 1929 and resides adjacent to a National Historic Preservation District on the campus of FMPAA. Special consideration and approval for all exterior changes had to be accepted by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  However, the original reception hall in the front of the building is a historic area. No changes were allowed in this area with the exception of light restoration.  Elements of the original auditorium ornamentation have been preserved and re-located to detail new areas of The Auditorium.  

National Codes:

Minnesota State Building Code (MSBC 2007)

2006 International Building Code (including adopted MSBC 2007 amendments)

Zoning: Institutional Office Residence District

Use: Theater, indoor

Maximum Height: 6 Stories (not to exceed 84 ft.)

Minimum Area: 20,000SF

Maximum Floor Area Ratio Multiplier: 3.5  

Building Enclosure

Facade: A pediment entrance way with ionic columns faces the prominent campus mall.  The building facade is a 3 wyth historic brick construction.  Daylighting is strategically placed and controlled due to the low light level requirements for the performance spaces. Exterior windows provide daylight to circulation and office spaces.  

Roofing: Over the theater there is a truss roofing system with standing seam metal deck construction and 1-½” foam insulation.  All horizontal roofs are built-up bituminous roofing with insulation.

Sustainability Features: The retrofit of The Auditorium is taking steps to increase the passive and active sustainability features including, the use of chilled beams, variable frequency drives, and better insulation/construction for the exterior and interior spaces.



The renovation of the Auditorium is managed by a general contractor.  The general contractor was awarded the job as a guaranteed maximum price contract during the design development phase of design.  The construction cost of the project is $75 million, which excludes the soft costs.  The Auditorium is set to be opened in April 2014, with a substantial completion date in February 2014.


The Auditorium is served with 13.8kVA from the campus infrastructure.  The service power distributed from a switchgear to two transformers that reduce the voltage to 480V/277V system to serve the building equipment motors and other loads.  Power is then distributed to electrical rooms around the Auditorium, where additional transforms reduce the voltage further to a 120V/208V system that serve the lighting and receptacle loads for the building.  


The theatrical lighting was contracted to an outside consultant.  Due to the changed stage dimensions, the ceiling light lofts in the audience chamber were redesigned.  A large dimmer room accommodates the theatrical lighting controls.

In the remainder of the building the lighting is controlled with occupancy sensors and is divided into different control zones. The different control zones are as follows:

  • 24hr Egress Lighting - Stairwells

  • Digital Time Control - Mechanical/Service Spaces

  • Occupancy Sensor - Typical Office Spaces & Restrooms

  • Stand Alone Preset Dimming - Founders Room (Presentation Space)

  • Time of Day with Maintenance/Security Override - Corridors

  • Time of Day without Override - Entrance Ways & Grand Staircases

  • Time of Day with User Override - Collaborative Lobbies Spaces


The Auditorium relies upon several types of structural systems.  The exterior walls are historic load bearing 3-wythe brick. Furthermore, the audience chamber roofing system is comprised of a series of seven steel trusses that are supported by steel columns that bear on concrete pile caps.  The north, east, and west sides of the building, that surround the audience chamber, are supported by wide flange beams and girders.  These roofs support the majority of the building’s mechanical equipment.  The redesigned balconies and stage are supported through post-tensioned concrete.  A typical section of the balcony tapers from 7” at the front of the balcony to 2’-6” thick connection to the floor slab.  Each ½” seven wire tendon is rated to 270 ksi.  


The mechanical system of the auditorium employs several technologies to distribute heating and cooling to the building occupants.  The primary heat source for the building is from a campus steam plant.  The steam plant provides 150oF steam to a flooded high pressure heat exchanger to create hot water.  The hot water is then distributed to fin tube radiation units, fan-powered boxes and four air handling units.  Steam is also utilized in the air handling units humidification systems.  

Located in the basement of the Auditorium is the campus cooling plant.  It includes three -1000 ton centrifugal chillers, which accommodate the northwest corner of campus including the Auditorium.  Chilled water is distributed to the air handling units, in addition to the active chilled beams which serve the performance support spaces.

Four air handling units serve the building.  Each unit is sized to accommodate the following program spaces:

  • AHU-1: Public Spaces - Variable Air Volume

  • AHU-2: Audience Chamber - Displacement Ventilation via Underfloor Air Distribution

  • AHU-3: Performance Spaces - Variable Air Volume

  • AHU-5: Performance Support Spaces - DOAS with dual-energy recovery wheel

  • Note: AHU-4 was not used and does not exist in the final construction documentation

AHU-5 is a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) and has a dual-energy recovery wheel that serves the active chilled beam system.

Fire Protection

The Auditorium is classified as an atrium per 2006 International Building Code.  This classification requires additional measures to accommodate smoke removal in the event of a fire.  Per standard code calculations the atrium of the Auditorium requires smoke exhaust fans to be capable of removing 90,000 cfm.  However, a consultant was hired to perform CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modeling of the smoke exhaust system and was able to reduce the required airflow to between 30,000-40,000 cfm.  The final design incorporates two -15,000 cfm dedicated exhaust fans located on the west rooftop.  The remaining airflow is accommodated through automatic opening interior and exterior doors.  Additionally the non-enclosed stairwells are designed to be positively pressurized through further CFD modeling.  

The entire building is also protected with a  combination of different sprinkler type systems.  The typical system is a wet-pipe sprinkler system.  Spaces that are open to the exterior (i.e. the loading dock areas) utilize a dry pipe system due to freezing potential in a cold climate.  Finally, sensitive areas (i.e. the pipe organ lofts, MDF, & IDF rooms) use a pre-action sprinkler system.

04.27.2014 |
CPEP Site Complete
04.27.2014 |
04.27.2014 |
04.21.2014 |
04.09.2014 |
04.02.2014 |
Outline Posted
01.30.2014 |
Proposal Updated
01.15.2014 |
Proposal Page Updated
12.13.2013 |
Proposal Page Updated
12.13.2013 |
Proposal Posted
12.09.2013 |
Research Page Updated
11.19.2013 |
Research Page Updated
11.10.2013 |
TECH 3 Posted
10.14.2013 |
Abstract Updated
10.08.2013 |
10.04.2013 |
TECH 2 Posted
09.19.2013 |
Abstract Paper Draft
09.19.2013 |
TECH 1 Posted
09.02.2013 |
09.02.2013 |
09.02.2013 |
CPEP Site Launched
08.30.2013 |
Thank You Letters Sent
08.08.2013 |
Drawings & Specs Recieved
07.31.2013 |
Owner Permission Recieved