Fosdick & Hilmer has engineered and designed the mechanical and electrical system renovations for this historic facility, constructed in 1878, for many years. Music Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. In reality three separate buildings under one roof (covering 2½ acres), Music Hall was originally designed to house musical activities in the center area and industrial exhibitions in the side wings. Music Hall was Cincinnati’s Convention Center from 1878 until the Sabin Convention Center was opened in 1967.
Renovation work has included:
- Lighting replacement for the front of Music Hall on Elm Street.
- Renovation of restrooms and refreshment stands throughout Music Hall.
- Refurbishment South Office Entry and Lobby Area.
- Refurbishment of the Critic’s Club (private bar and dining area with restrooms and cloakroom)
- Renovation of the Central Parkway entrance into a brilliant entrance gallery.
- Expansion and upgrade of chillers, boilers, and distribution systems throughout the complex.
- Refurbishment of lighting in Music Hall foyer and installation of lighting behind Rose Window.
- Renovation of South Wing Ballroom.
- Renovation of CSO Shell and refurbishment of Green Room
- Installation of fire alarm and fire suppression systems.
- Installation of passenger elevator to service all three floors in Music Hall.
- Renovation of existing storage space for new Cincinnati Ballet offices.
One of the most interesting recent projects was the $1.8 million renovation of Music Hall’s South Wing Ballroom. Where a low ceiling once covered a third of the room, a 24-foot high, barrel-vaulted ceiling now spans the entire 200-foot length. With 18,000 square feet, the ballroom can accommodate up to 1,500 people and is Cincinnati’s largest event room outside of the Albert Sabin Convention Center. The renovation included two new performance stages, state-of-the art lighting and sound systems, and renovated (ADA) restrooms.
Another major project was the $1.5 million CSO shell renovation project. New lighting for the stage was part of the new shell design. The new set-up has separate lighting (lighting was built into the old shell), which allowed for more flexibility in concert situations and during television tapings. More light will hit the stage with the new system, giving the concert stage more “sparkle.” The house lights, stage lights, and public address system are controlled by a computerized control console in the lighting cage.