Shawmut Design and Construction Unveils Renovations to Chapin Hall at Williams College

22,244-square-foot Chapin Hall

WILLIAMSTOWN – Shawmut Design and Construction announced that it has completed renovations to Williams College’s Chapin Hall. Shawmut completed the renovations to the historic venue’s interior just in time for its official opening gala in late October.

Shawmut’s updates to the 22,244 square-foot venue included new auditorium seating, an adjustable stage to accommodate musical performances of varying sizes, a stage lift, a theatrical lighting package, renovations to existing millwork, and a complete restoration of the existing wood flooring. The team also reconfigured the space to feature two main aisles instead of one, and replaced the outer pews with individual seats.

22,244-square-foot Chapin Hall
22,244-square-foot Chapin Hall

The final phase of the renovation focused on replacing all seating, installing the dual-part stage and piano lift, adding a state-of-the-art sound system, and restoring the ceiling’s historic gold leafing. The stage now sits closer to the audience and will extend into the first seven rows of seating with the extension to improve acoustics during orchestral performances, and the new piano lift allows for it to be lowered directly into basement storage.

“Renovating Chapin Hall was a thrilling undertaking for our team, in regard to the historical significance of the venue and the details involved,” said Ron Simoneau, vice president at Shawmut. “We are excited to witness the impact these changes will have on future performances and the Williams College community as a whole.”

Many of the updates to the 1912 venue required extensive coordination. In order to restore the auditorium’s original teakwood flooring, the team removed it during construction and reinstalled it once the work was completed. To complete the restoration, the team located original teakwood from the Indonesian island of Java and used a teak veneer over a white oak backer with rosewood inlays and splines. In order to restore the hall’s historic gold leaf ceiling while allowing construction to the hall beneath to continue simultaneously, the team erected a state of the art scaffolding platform spanning 60 feet over the open hall.

Despite an incredible amount of work and a tight timeline, the renovation was complete in time for the hall’s official opening gala on October 23. The Shawmut team addressed this challenge at the outset of the project by putting in place a strategic logistics and engineering plan to finish successfully and seamlessly. This project is the latest for the firm’s academic division, with recent work at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University School of Journalism.