E. E. Bass Cultural Arts Center
The project involves the retrofit of an existing 1920s historic high school for use as a community theater space.
Beard + Riser, along with theater consultant John Morris of Morris Architects of Chicago, sought to respect the historic significance and beauty of the original school building, designed by A. Hays Town during his time with Overstreet. Rather than seeks to simply rehabilitate the building however, the design team sought to accentuate the client’s desire for a cutting edge state-of-the-art theater space unique to the Mississippi Delta.
The design of the three-story building includes creation of a new theater space, including box office, concessions, storage, and office space. Interiors include acoustic wood wall panels throughout, and finishes consistent with a high-end theater experience. Because the main entry level is on the actual second floor, ADA ramping and access were worked into the site development plan to accommodate accessibility.
Beard + Riser assisted the owner in working with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to complete initial feasibility documents and continues to assist project stakeholders with ongoing funding requests.