by Pam L. Smith, managing director, Auburn School District Theatres
One of South King County’s busiest performance halls is shutting its doors – but only temporarily. Hosting over 300 events a year, the 1100-seat Auburn Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Auburn High School, has been a veritable cultural workhorse. Since it opened in 1981, it has served all of the Auburn School District as well as numerous local and regional groups, including the City of Auburn’s BRAVO Series, the Auburn Symphony Orchestra, and Pacific Ballroom Dance.
But over the years, some challenges have become apparent – from the PAC’s inadequate parking and delivery areas, to worn out theater seats. The theatre’s heating and air conditioning equipment is wearing out and the lighting and sound systems are in need of an upgrade. The building does not meet current structural codes and ADA regulations, and it also falls short in providing common sense amenities – there are only five stalls in the women’s restroom!
As part of the current reconstruction and modernization of Auburn High School, the PAC will be closing down from July 2014 to October 2015 to accommodate extensive remodeling work. Improvements to the exterior will include an enlarged parking lot offering over 350 parking stalls, a prominent front entry with a vehicle drop-off lane and a designated box office, and a larger, covered delivery area.
Inside, the PAC lobby will be separated from the rest of the high school campus, reducing current security concerns. Restroom capacity will be significantly enhanced, and will include new restrooms on the balcony level.
In the theatre itself, new seats will be installed, a center aisle will be added on the main floor for improved access, and structural upgrades will include an elevator to the balcony.
The new PAC will improve energy efficiency, seismic upgrades, and the moods of all of those ladies who have had to wait in long lines for the restroom during intermission.
During the Auburn PAC’s closure, booking dates are still available at the Auburn School District’s other two 400-seat theatres at Auburn Riverside Theatre (501 Oravetz Road) and Auburn Mountainview (28900 124th Avenue SE). Call Pam Smith, managing director of the Auburn School District Theatres, at 253-931-4827 for details.