The invisible perks of our new building

Soundproofing the floors

Without a doubt, there will be many things to love and appreciate about new the permanent home of the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Once the newness wears off, though, some of the best features of this building will be things you probably won’t notice.

Soundproofing the walls
The yellow stripe is actually a special seal to block sound from passing between rooms in the education wing of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music. Soundproofing our studios has been a priority since the planning stages of the Conservatory’s new permanent home.

To be fair, some of them will be infrastructure-based and therefore hidden from view anyway…

Soundproofing the floors
Special flooring is evenly — and precisely — fastened down in each studio in the education wing of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music. Soundproofing has been a priority since the early planning stages of the Conservatory’s new permanent home.

In addition to all the benefits that natural light provides, the large windows are also specially sealed to allow for humidity control throughout the building — a VERY important necessity for stringed instruments.

Large studio windows will be sealed to allow for humidity control throughout the building
The large windows throughout much of the new Conservatory aren’t just providing natural light — though that’s a pretty thing to have! They’re also blocking humidity from entering the building, a necessity for properly maintaining stringed instruments.

In our current facility, humidifiers are placed in those rooms with stringed instruments and are filled and maintained by staff during the winter months — a daily duty we’re looking forward to forgetting about entirely!

From few big classrooms, many roomy studios

Original large classrooms
What once were large classrooms will be split into many studios — still with plenty of room for our artist-faculty to do what they do best!

One of the things we’re most looking forward to in our new permanent home is how much more room our renowned artist faculty will have to teach their lessons. There’s a reason we’re back-to-back Best of Omaha winners for music lessons — and we plan to keep it that way!!
Best of Omaha 2016 – 1st Place – Music Lessons   Best of Omaha 2015 – 1st Place – Music Lessons

And have we mentioned the WINDOWS?! Not only will we have a lot more teaching spaces, but the majority of those rooms will have an abundance of natural light.

Studio windows
Lots of studios in the new permanent home of the Omaha Conservatory of Music will feature huge picture windows.

In the education wing of the Conservatory’s new permanent home, large classrooms have been sectioned into many studios of various sizes allowing us to get as many pianos as we can — more than one, in some cases — into those rooms.

Large classroom spaces are framed out into studios for the new Omaha Conservatory of Music.
Large classroom spaces are framed out into studios for the new Omaha Conservatory of Music.

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By design, there just aren’t any small teaching spaces in this building.

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Featuring large studios!

These studios are so big that even with a bunch of construction supplies, we could still fit several people in there!

Rachel Griggs in what will be a studio space
Rachel Griggs, voice instructor and artist faculty department chair at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, gets a sense of the size of one the studio spaces in the main teaching area of the building.
Department chair tour
Executive Director Ruth Meints listens as Candace Jorgensen talks about plans for the studio spaces with Omaha Conservatory of Music artist faculty department chairs.

Even our lower-level studios are great spaces. That’s right: MORE WINDOWS!!!

Lower-level studio
Construction crew members install windows in a studio on the building’s lower level.

Staff spaces take shape

Admin offices

The administrative area of our new permanent home has seen a little quicker transformation, mostly because it’s a more compact area of the building (in yellow in the “zoned” version of the building plans) — and it probably doesn’t hurt that it was an administrative area to begin with.

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Framing out the administrative wing

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Framing outlines three offices around the edge of the administrative area of the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s new permanent home.
A few of the offices in the admin space will feature a large glass wall in order to let more natural light into the whole area.
A few of the offices in the admin space will feature a large glass wall in order to let more natural light into the whole area.
Admin offices
Admin offices — with walls!

This area will also have a conference room that will double as a Green Room, with easy access to the main performance hall stage.

Ruth's office will have a door into the conference room; this view is from that entrance.
Ruth’s office will have a door into the conference room; this view is from that entrance.
Conference/Green Room
We were happy to keep the line of narrow windows — they provide great light into the conference/Green Room. In the back, you can see the door leading into Ruth’s office.

Our executive director, Ruth Meints, will occupy the corner office — with lots of windows! — which is being outfitted with soundproofing features so the room can double as her violin/viola studio space.

Ruth's corner office
Drywall piled up in what will be Ruth’s office. Above, you can see the start of the framework for the lowered ceiling.

The space shown below was initially used as conference/break room for the construction crew, but has now begun its transformation into the office of Candace Jorgensen, director of programming and community engagement. Candace, who also runs our String Sprouts program, will have added soundproofing features in her office, too, so she can continue teaching cello in the same space.

Candace's office
For most of the first phase of construction, this room was set up as a makeshift conference room. When we return from holiday break in January, this will be the office (and cello studio!) of Candace Jorgensen, director of programming and community engagement.

Let there be light!

If you ask any of the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s artist-faculty what they’re most excited about in our new building, chances are very good most of them will mention the windows.

Lots of large window frames being installed this week
Window frames lean against a wall in the artist-faculty wing of the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s new permanent home. The large picture windows are among our teachers’ favorite features of the new building.
Window frames stand ready
There are so many windows being installed in our new building that the frames have to be stashed wherever there’s room – in this case, a stairwell.

Aside from the fact that we don’t have a lot of natural light coming into most areas of our current location, the windows at our new location are just downright impressive — in size AND technology.

Window frames in the lower level of our new building
Window frames have already been installed in classrooms and studios located in the lower level of the Omaha Conseravatory of Music’s new permanent home.
Window frames in the lower level
Window frames have already been installed in classrooms and studios located in the lower level of the Omaha Conseravatory of Music’s new permanent home.

Not only are they simply GINORMOUS (and plentiful!), they’re also going to be expertly installed in coming days to ensure that the entire building maintains a specific climate ideal for musical instruments. That means higher humidity in the winter, and sophisticated climate-control 24/7-365.

Yep, you guessed it — MORE WINDOWS! Even in the classrooms on our lower level. We can't wait!
Yep, you guessed it — MORE WINDOWS! Even in the classrooms on our lower level. We can’t wait!

Sure, we won’t be able to open the windows on a beautiful sunny spring day, or a warmer-than-usual fall one, but we also won’t have to worry about a rash of broken strings — all while still being able to enjoy some views of the nature we’ll be surrounded by, even if it’s merely across sunlit corner showcasing only the bricks of our building.

Main concert hall begins to take shape

Since late last week, workers have been installing some VERY TALL beams in the main concert hall area.

The appearance of many tall beams mark the beginning of major construction in the main concert hall of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music.
The appearance of many tall beams mark the beginning of major construction in the main concert hall of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music.
Looking toward the rear of the main concert hall of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music gives a sense of the grand structure taking shape here.
Looking toward the rear of the main concert hall of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music gives a sense of the grand structure taking shape here.

Prior to that, the large area had been mostly used for storing large numbers of materials for use elsewhere in the building construction, stockpiles of doorframes, for example.

Back end of main concerthall
As the framework for the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s new main concert hall takes shape, it’s easier to see what a trip down the hallway connecting the main part of the Conservatory to the study area — and Accelerando Coffee Shop! — will feel like.

Ready, set, BUILD!

After a bit of a post-demolition summer hiatus while plans were finalized, construction began at a rapid pace immediately following the Labor Day holiday.

Those first few days meant lots of supplies coming in and getting stockpiled in open areas of the building.

Supplies by the truckload
Supplies were delivered to our jobsite by the truckload as crews prepared to begin major construction on the remodel of the Conservatory’s new permanent home.
Ducts stand at the ready
Before studios can be framed out, ductwork and other sorts of infrastructure must be installed.
Door frames in main hall
Lots of studios means lots of doors — and door frames. These were grouped together in the main concert hall area.
Infrastructure ties
Ties for securing conduit, pipes and other infrastructure are organized along the moveable partition in the main concert hall.

Then came the installation of infrastructure — from plumbing to electricity to conduit for phones and internet wiring and such. Jackhammers tore up floors, holes were cut through walls — all according to plan, of course, to get all those very important “skeletal” parts of a building you rarely see and never think about, exactly where they need to be.

Conduit piping in main hall
Conduit piping, which will house internet and other wiring, will come into the back of the main concert hall area from both sides of the building.
Conduit pipes downstairs
Conduit piping, which will house internet and other wiring, run along the ceiling in the lower level.

Then frames started going up. And walls… (to be continued)

From this point forward, each post on this blog will show the building coming to life. It’s going to be a fun ride!

The Plans

Anyone who’s worked on a large-scale project knows things are always changing. And while these plans aren’t an exact plan of our new space anymore, they are pretty darn close — and the most recent drawings we have available. Have a look!

Plans for the new Omaha Conservatory of Music, as of April 2015. Plans for the new Omaha Conservatory of Music, as of April 2015.

Plans for the new Omaha Conservatory of Music, as of April 2015. Plans for the lower level of the new Omaha Conservatory of Music, as of April 2015.