One of the best parts of our job is being able to take part in the stories of the most unique, awe-inspiring venues. One venue that stands out in our mind in particular is one that is close to the home of Staging Concepts. The Ames Center, formerly known as Burnsville Performing Arts Center, emerged as a place that seamlessly blends together traditional art and culture with modern architecture. Nestled between Nicollet Commons Park, The Minnesota River Valley and the Minneapolis Skyline, Ames Center stands two stories tall, all in glass. This immaculate building opened in January 2009, housing two theatres, a 1,014 seat proscenium stage and an intimate 150 seat black box theatre. In addition to the two theatres, the center has a 2,000 sq ft. art gallery displaying exhibitions of cultural and eclectic art.
Staging Concepts took part in the Ames Center story when the venue called for a pit filler that could easily be taken in and out for varying events and performances. Listening to what the center needed, we went to work in designing a free spanning, lightweight pit filler.
By doing this, we were able to eliminate the need for understructure, allowing ample room for storage. The pit filler uses SC90 platforms that sit on sturdy angle brackets on the edges of the stage, creating a durable surface that can be easily lifted or adjusted for leveling. The second aspect to this project was creating flexibility for the pit cover so that it could be a multi-level system. We did this by giving the Ames Center the option to place our SC9600 support system at varying heights below the platforms. By doing this, the venue could either have the pit filler free spanning with virtually nothing underneath of it or it could be set at different height levels using supports. Ted Jacobson, Director of Facility and Event Operations, was excited about the opportunities for storage and aesthetic look that the product would provide. “The new pit filler has angle brackets on the edges of the stage and it was built that way to eliminate the understructure support of the pit filler. This will greatly increase storage space in the pit when it is not in use. We are very satisfied with the finished product. The crew thinks it is lighter and much easier to set up and tear down than the old one. It’s sturdier than the old one and it looks sharp.”