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A True Music Building

A True Music Building
With its current facilities jam-packed, Old Town School of Folk Music  is developing its first new building designed with the school in mind. VOA's Bill Ketcham tells us the 27k SF space at 4543 N. Lincoln will convey the idea of music and movement, inside and out.
VOA's Bill Ketcham
Short of opening a House of Blues, what exactly does that mean? The $18M  structure will include 18 music and dance classrooms, a 149-seat auditorium that can be converted to a dance studio with retractable seating, and a conceptual front porch where students and teachers can jam out on Lincoln Square. A design contest for local artists will decide what images appear on the building, as well as the patterns on the interior railings. Inside, small alcoves  between classrooms will be open for musicians to spontaneously play in small groups. Bill says the building is one of the densest  he's ever designed, filling every possible space with more classrooms.
Old Town School of Music Interior
Groundbreaking is slated for next Thursday, and Bill expects completion in October 2011. (April if they play it in  cut time.) So far, it's one point shy of  LEED Gold  with a green roof, reused site, and easy access to public transit. Old Town's two existing buildings were a former residential/retail site  and a former public library, so having a building with classrooms designed to acoustically enhance musical performance, plus sprung-floored (yes, that's right even though it sounds funny) dance studios, will be new for Old Town's staff and students. The building applied for a height variance to add about 5' to the max building height to accommodate the dance studio and has been well-received by the community and faculty.