Now Open: The Newel + Jean Daines Concert Hall and Daryl Chase Fine Arts Center at Utah State University!

The Utah State University Caine College of the Arts and Daryl Chase Fine Arts Center celebrate a 50 year anniversary this October, and to mark the occasion, we are honored to announce that the Newel and Jean Daines Concert Hall will open its doors after undergoing an extensive renovation and addition! Sparano + Mooney Architecture was integral to the design of the new performing arts facility and we are beyond excited to see our team’s hard work and vision come to life.


The Newel and Jean Daines Concert Hall, Utah State University. Photography by Alan Blakely

We would like to extend our greatest appreciation to our team of consultants on the project – including Newson Brown AcousticsCache Landmark Engineering, Inc.Landmark Design, Inc.Calder Richards Consulting Engineers LLCVan Boerum & Frank AssociatesSpectrum Engineers and Gramoll Construction – and to Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, who played a tremendous part in realizing this wonderful facility. We are grateful for your support and are proud to have worked with such a dedicated group of professionals on the Daines Concert Hall and Fine Arts Complex renovation and addition!

The Utah State University Fine Arts Complex Addition/Renovation consisted of adding an additional 15,000 SF of space on two sides of the complex and renovating 107,000 SF of space in the existing building. The crown jewel of the project is the renovation of the Daines Concert Hall (formerly the Kent Concert Hall). Upgrades include a new acoustical shell, acoustically reconfigured walls, removal of the existing ceiling, and upgraded theatrical audio and lighting equipment to enhance the acoustic performance of the venue for both performers and audience; all new theater seating; HVAC systems improvements to decrease ambient noise levels; addition of a fire sprinkler system; structural modifications to the ceiling to improve seismic stability; new catwalks and tension grid; addition of dressing room suites; and improved ADA access to the concert hall from the lobby and from the hall to the stage. With seating for 1,743, the Daines Concert Hall is a performance facility with secondary use for convocation, lectures and general assemblies.


The Newel and Jean Daines Concert Hall, Utah State University. Photography by Alan Blakely

The renovation of the Daines Concert Hall also removed the old ceilings, proscenium arch, existing electrical, mechanical, audio visual systems and existing seating. It added a gallery to both sides of the house and behind the stage. The stage was extended forward by 15 FT. The acoustics for the concert hall were of utmost importance. The walls for the hall were carefully designed to optimally direct the sound into the space. The new acoustic design allows for the sound to envelop the listener no matter what seat they might be in. The new gallery levels curve behind the stage, and this aspect permits patrons of a choral and orchestra performance to be elevated above the stage, giving them a more intimate experience. In an orchestra-only performance this vantage allows the patron to sit in these elevated seats behind the stage, giving them a whole new perspective of the performance. The curving natural wood on the walls lends the hall a warm and inviting feeling. All new seating in the concert hall provides the patron a wonderfully comfortable experience.

The mechanical ductwork increased in size to slow down the air movement, making the building comfortable and quiet. The structure has been opened, especially above the stage, making it inviting and expansive. New cat-walk throughout the space allows those working behind the scenes easy access to almost every corner of the Daines Concert Hall.

In addition to the Daines Concert Hall, the Fine Arts Center also saw the expansion and renovation of the Morgan Theatre Scene Shop and Costume Shop, which provides an additional 7,900 SF of space to accommodate design and construction of theatrical scenery and costumes. These improvements provide significant economic benefits for the Morgan Theatre due to expanded scheduling of the facility for its use as a rehearsal, performance, and teaching venue for Utah State University and the various theatrical groups that use the Theater. As part of the Fine Arts Center’s renovation, the Tippetts Exhibition Hall and Gallery has also been transformed and now shines as an example of a world-class exhibition space.


The Morgan Theater Costume Shop, Utah State University. Photography by Alan Blakely

The Utah State University Fine Arts Complex Addition/Renovation results in an architectural landmark for both the Utah State University campus and Northern Utah, and our team is tremendously proud to have contributed to the institution’s cultural and educational landscape. We are grateful to have been a part of designing and realizing the Daines Concert Hall and the Fine Arts Center and look forward to another 50 years of arts and culture in the new facility!