Memorial Hall Renovation
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Memorial Hall, designed in the Beaux Arts tradition, was completed in 1908. As a military memorial, the theater was used primarily for oratory of the day. However, over time the use (and maintenance) of the building dwindled. The hall remained underutilized, while the lack of air conditioning closed the hall from May to October. Recognizing that long-term viability would be key to the hall’s preservation, the county partnered with the Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society and 3CDC to renovate the facility using historic tax credits, county funds and donations. New life requires new infrastructure, new uses, new patron amenities and new support facilities. Only a seven foot strip of land at the rear was available for expansion. Maximizing the potential of this narrow addition, improvements were made to allow for quick load-in/load-out for stage acts, catering, and supply. New restrooms and the catering kitchen would occupy the first floor while the stage level would receive a cross-over, piano access, audio/visual and theatrical amenities. Ultimately, a small amount of land would be purchased allowing for a full-sized freight elevator. Restoration and the installation of new lighting, electrical, audio/visual, plumbing and fire suppression in the historic structure were compounded by the fact that walls, floors, and ceilings were constructed of plaster or stone over structural clay tile. Through thoughtful planning and care, these new systems were successfully integrated while maintaining the historic integrity of the Hall in such a way that in many cases it appears untouched.