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Renovations Underway at the Esteemed Booker High School Visual Performing Arts Center

SARASOTA, FLA., April 14, 2022 – Construction has begun on the renovation and expansion of the Sarasota County School District’s Booker High School Visual Performing Arts (VPA) Center. 

Schenkel Shultz designed improvements to breathe new life into the theater and enhance the performative and technical quality of the facility, reflecting Booker High School VPA’s reputation as a premier Visual and Performing Arts program in the state of Florida. 

The improvements will expand the public lobby, providing flexibility as a pre-function gathering area, event space, and gallery to showcase student artwork. The renovation encompasses a complete overhaul of the theater space, including a new balcony and tiered orchestra level, as well as comfort, sightline, and acoustical enhancements that improve the overall experience for the audience. The project also includes an expansion to house a new black box theater, green room, costume shop, and classrooms. 

“The theater at Booker High School is rich in history and is one of the premier art and cultural ‘gems’ of the Sarasota community,” said Ken Dean, Partner and leader of Schenkel Shultz’s Sarasota office. Inspired by this concept, the design team explored the idea of the VPA as a gem. Borrowing from the performative qualities of a gemstone, the lobby expansion utilizes a transparent, two-story faceted curtainwall that highlights the original interior shape of the auditorium. The theater’s interior incorporates digital projections for program-specific performances that will serve as a dynamic backdrop and allow for interchangeability.

“The design preserves the existing theater as a historically significant place to educate students and provides an artistic destination for performers, students, and the community, said Ekta Desai, AIA, Partner and Design Lead at Schenkel Shultz. “Simultaneously, we have elevated the space’s production, technology, acoustics, and function, creating an environment that reflects the school’s longstanding reputation for excellence.”

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

 About Schenkel Shultz

Schenkel Shultz has built a legacy of success through a continued focus on design excellence that responds to the distinctive needs of our clients. The firm remains committed to delivering relationship-driven design that is rooted in critical thinking, research, collaboration, and personal experiences, balanced by fiscal responsibility. Schenkel Shultz’s focus is ever forward, centered around a diversity of talent, meaningful community partnerships, and a commitment to inspire the community through impactful design. For more information, visit www.schenkelshultz.com.

For more information contact Beth Cocchiarella at Six The Agency. bethc@sixtheagency.com