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Dock Street Theatre Renovation

Client
City of Charleston, SC
Dock Street Theater

Challenge
The original Dock Street Theater, opened in 1736, was the first building in America designed for theatrical use. The theater has gone through several additions and renovations over the past 270 years. In 2007, the City of Charleston decided to close the theater to begin a three year renovation project. Part of the project included the installation of structural steel reinforcing in the attic space over the theaters seating area, seismic reinforcement of the existing unreinforced brick exterior wall, new rigging support steel over the stage, a new HVAC support platform on the roof, as well as numerous catwalks, platforms and ladders. All of the steel work was inside of the existing historical structure and the work was further complicated by the fact that the theater is located in a very congested section of old Charleston.

Solution
NBM Construction, of Charleston, SC, was the successful bidder for the general contract. Parker Rigging was the successful bidder for the steel erection. NBM and Parker worked closely together before the bid to develop a Means & Method plan for the installation of the interior steel. The first obstacle was the installation of the structural support beams in the attic over the seating area. This steel was designed to support new light bars for stage lighting and a new HVAC platform on the roof. The attic area was directly over the vaulted stucco ceiling of the seating area. The steel beams, in certain locations, were only inches above the fragile stucco. Also, there was no access to get the steel beams into the attic. With the assistance of NBM, Parker Rigging was able to develop a plan to get the beams into the attic and welded in place. All steel in the attic was installed with no damage to the fragile stucco ceiling.

The second obstacle on the project was the installation of four W12x96 columns over 40 ft. long. The columns were designed to assist in stabilizing the existing unreinforced brick wall on the west side of the stage, which over the years had developed cracks and had become almost unstable. The columns weighed over 2 tons each. There were no structural points above their locations to rig from and no path to easily get the columns into the building. Again, working with the assistance of NBM, Parker Rigging was able to get the columns into the building and rigged into place without damaging the existing brick wall.

The remainder of the steel work consisted of working in locations with very limited access. Parker Rigging was able to get all the steel installed, on schedule and within budget, with no damage to the existing structure. Parker Rigging also supplied crane work for the general contractor as well as several other subcontractors.
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5515 Rivers Avenue • North Charleston, SC 29406
Phone:(843) 747-7977 • Fax:(843) 747-5560
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