Florida Memorial College

Lou Rawls Center for the Performing Arts


Florida Memorial College dedicated its renovated and refurbished performing arts center to singer Lou Rawls, 69, who, in the past few years, has forged a strong relationship with the college.

The Center contains a 450-seat theater, with state-of-the-art lighting, rigging, and sound systems. Construction included renovation of the existing auditorium and major additions to the facility, including a new full-height stagehouse. Seating was completely reconfigured to meet ADA accessibility requirements, as well as to assure excellent sightlines. And finally, a new dressing room and an intimate outdoor performance area were added.

“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” said Gary Parker, director of facilities management and plant operations for the college. “For a campus our size, it’s a gem.”

The multipurpose center was financed with grants from the Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Council, the State Cultural Arts Department, individual donors and the Bush Foundation, a private foundation based in St. Paul, Minn. that supports historically black colleges.

  • Client: Florida Memorial College
  • Architect: R.J. Heisenbottle
  • Completion Year: 2004
  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Acoustician: Artec
  • Capacity: 450 seats

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